EU to try again to coordinate Chinese policies on Covid

BRUSSELS — European Union countries will try again on Wednesday to develop a coordinated approach to determine if and how authorities should check whether incoming air passengers from China are likely to detect new variants of COVID-19 after several countries members have announced individual efforts over the past week.

Belgium said on Monday evening it would check aircraft wastewater from China to see if it provides any new clues to potentially dangerous variants. He said he would urge Chinese visitors who are not feeling well to take a COVID-19 test.

More needs to be done, but only as part of a coordinated approach between the 27 member states, said Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. “It would be a good signal to China if all EU countries together said, ‘If you come to Europe, you have to be tested first,'” he told the VRT network.

Sweden, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said member state officials will hold a meeting on the integrated policy response to the crisis on Wednesday to see if conditions for entry across the bloc are necessary.

“It is important that we put the necessary measures in place quickly,” said Swedish Health Minister Jakob Forssmed.

EU countries France, Spain and Italy have already announced independent steps to implement stricter COVID-19 measures for passengers arriving from China.

The French government is demanding negative tests and urging French citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China. France is also reintroducing mask requirements on flights from China to France.

The Spanish government has said it will require all air passengers arriving from China to have negative tests or proof of vaccination. Italy was the first EU member to require coronavirus testing for airline passengers arriving from China, but several others have said such measures may not be the best option to protect local populations. , because new variants from China already exist in Europe, often for several months.

The United States announced new COVID-19 testing requirements for all travelers from China on Wednesday, joining some Asian countries that had imposed restrictions due to a spike in infections.


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