Coronavirus: “overwhelming majority” of EU countries in favor of testing travelers from China

The measure is part of the recommendations of a committee of health experts of the Twenty-Seven (Health Security Committee) and will be discussed on Wednesday during a meeting intended to prepare a coordinated EU response to the explosion in the number infections in China.

Health experts examined on Tuesday other measures proposed by the Commission, that of imposing the wearing of masks for passengers from China, the control of aircraft sewage and increased tests, with genomic sequencing, at arrival airports. , in order to identify possible new variants.

“These measures should be targeted at the most appropriate flights and airports and implemented in a coordinated manner (across the EU) to ensure their effectiveness,” the spokesperson stressed.

Wednesday’s meeting of the IPCR (European system for a reaction at political level in crisis situations) could lead to recommendations which will then have to be endorsed by the Member States.

China on Tuesday condemned the mandatory Covid tests already imposed by a dozen countries around the world, including three in the EU, on travelers from its territory, warning that it could take “countermeasures” in retaliation.

Beijing ended its draconian “zero Covid” policy in early December, leading to an explosion in the number of contaminations in the Chinese population, and will lift its quarantine obligations for travelers arriving from abroad on Sunday.

Worried about the lack of transparency on the Chinese figures and fearing the appearance of new variants, the Europeans reacted in dispersed order, three of the Member States of the EU opting unilaterally for restrictions.

Italy and Spain have imposed tests on arrival for passengers departing from China, while France has decided to require, from Thursday, a negative test dating from less than 48 hours on their departure. Random tests may also take place upon arrival in France.

During the meeting of the Health Security Committee, “all the Member States agreed on a coordinated approach”, insisted the spokesperson for the European executive.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), one of the EU’s health agencies, deemed on Thursday “unjustified” systematic screening of travelers, given the level of herd immunity in Europe and the presence on this continent of the same variants as in China.

The ECDC said Tuesday “to have increased its surveillance activities”, while again considering that “the variants circulating in China (…) do not in themselves constitute a threat to the immune response” of Europeans.

Leave a Comment