Member States will decide whether the requirement will enter into force; measure is a reaction to the escalation of the disease in the Asian country
The EU (European Union) recommended on Wednesday (4.jan.2023) that its Member States require a negative covid-19 test for passengers coming from China. The measure is not mandatory. It is a “precautionary approach” approved by representatives of the 27 countries, but which will need to be put into practice individually.
The department responsible for the initiative is the IPCR (Integrated Mechanism for Political Response to Crisis Situations), which facilitates quick decision-making by the bloc.
The need was raised with the suspension of the “covid zero” policy, enacted by the Xi Jinping government to appease the population’s protests against health restrictions. The end of restrictions, however, led China to a new outbreak of covid. It is estimated that up to 248 million people, or 18% of the country’s inhabitants, have been infected by the new coronavirus.
The number of travelers from China is expected to increase from Sunday (Jan 8), when the government plans to lift the quarantine requirement for those arriving in the country.
The EU recommendation is that the test be done at least 48 hours before boarding. The measure is valid for any passenger, regardless of nationality.
On flights passing through the Asian country, the use of a mask must be mandatory, according to the European bloc. THE “random testing” of passengers and analysis of water in planes were also recommended.
Some countries, such as the USA, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain and France, anticipated and have already announced restrictions on passengers coming from China.
The director general of the WHO (World Health Organization), Tedros Adhanom, said on Wednesday (4.jan), in an interview with journalists, that the health organization is “following closely” the rise of cases of covid in China and “assessing the risks“of a new subvariant”spread quickly”.
“We continue to ask China for faster, more regular and reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as more comprehensive and real-time viral sequencing.”, said the Director-General of the WHO.
The new subvariant of omicron, called XBB.1.5, has already been detected in 29 countries.