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EU set to demand pre-departure Covid testing for travellers from China

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The EU is expected to impose pre-departure Covid-19 tests on travelers from China within days to prevent infection. surge in infectious diseases In that country spread to Europe.

A spokesman for the European Commission said at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday that an “overwhelming majority” of the 27 EU member states had called for the move.

Three countries – France, Spain and Italy – have already said they will introduce restrictions on visitors from China, including requiring proof of a recent negative Covid test and proof of vaccination.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kiriakides said Wednesday’s emergency meeting had reached a final decision and the capital had “converged” on the requirements for pre-departure testing.

“Unity remains our strongest tool against Covid,” she said.

China has been released from a long lockdown, Increased infections in the world’s second largest economy

The Health Security Committee of Member State officials has prepared a draft opinion recommending several measures.

These include recommending wearing masks on flights from China and “discussing pre-departure screening of passengers,” a commission spokesman said. We also need monitoring of wastewater from aircraft, genomic surveillance at airports, and enhanced monitoring and sequencing.

The EU should also step up testing and vaccination of its own citizens.

The government has changed course sharply since a meeting of the same committee last week rejected the idea of ​​pre-flight testing. The move comes despite a report by the Disease Control Agency on Tuesday’s block that Chinese travelers would not pose an increased risk to EU citizens.

of European Center for Disease Prevention and ControlIt monitors threats in the EU and European Economic Area countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

“like that [they] There is no problem with the immune response in EU/EEA citizens,” the center said. “In addition, EU/EEA citizens have relatively high immunization and vaccination levels.”

Given the high level of immunization in the population and the previous pattern of emergence of variants and subvariants of the disease in Europe, the surge in cases in China is likely to have an impact on the epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in the EU. was not expected to give,” added the EEA, ECDC.

Sweden’s EU ambassador to the EU, Lars Danielsson, who took over the EU’s replacement presidency from the Czech Republic earlier this year, predicted that the government would nonetheless support pre-flight tests.

“I’m sure we can agree on some recommendations for restricting travelers from China. I don’t think it’s that dramatic,” Danielson told the Financial Times.

The move came when Beijing rejected an EU offer to send a Western-made Covid-19 vaccine. According to the World Health Organization, a vaccine manufactured in China will require three doses of vaccine to provide him with the same protection against serious illness as his two doses of vaccines manufactured in the West. .

Beijing said on Tuesday that the situation was “under control”, citing “enhanced clinical effects” of its “adequate” domestic jabs.

The ECDC says the odds of Europeans contracting Covid in the next few weeks are “very high”. According to its weekly data report, in the week ending December 18, 2022, he increased by 7%.

In addition, 11 of the 21 countries with data on hospital admissions and intensive care unit bed occupancy reported an increasing trend in at least one of these indicators. Mortality decreased by 11% compared to the previous week. Across the EU and EEA, 2,009 deaths related to Covid-19 were reported.

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