The European Union Member States have yesterday agreed to recommend that all Member States impose a pre-departure testing for all arrivals from China as well as random testing on-arrival as a response to the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases that China is experiencing.
“The Member States are strongly encouraged to introduce, for all passengers departing from China to Member States, the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test taken not more than 48 hours prior to departure from China,” the statement provided by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union reads, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In addition, the EU Member States are also urged to recommend all passengers on flights to and from China to wear face masks and issue advice regarding health measures and personal hygiene.
EU countries are also urged to continue to promote vaccine sharing as well as the uptake of vaccines, taking also into account booster shots, especially among vulnerable groups.
“The IPCR, with the support of the ECDC and the EEAS, and taking into account WHO assessment, will continue to monitor the epidemiological situation in the EU and developments in China, including the level of data shared, with a view to ensuring EU coordination of any measures considered necessary,” the statement notes.
China is recently dealing with a surge in the number of COVID-19 infection cases while the situation has led several countries worldwide to reintroduce preventive measures for arrivals from China in order to protect citizens’ lives.
Besides, China is being criticised for not providing data regarding the current epidemiological situation. Recently, the World Health Organization has thrown accusations towards authorities in China of under-representing the current COVID-19 situation.
In addition, the Director-General of World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a media briefing, called on Chinese authorities to provide more rapid and regular data regarding hospitalisation and deaths, and more comprehensive and real-time viral sequencing.
The current epidemiological situation in China has sparked controversies among European countries on whether it is needed to impose additional travel measures on arrival from China or not.
Recently, authorities in Greece, Switzerland and Germany announced that they do not plan to impose travel restrictions on arrivals from China, despite the increased number of infections that the latter is facing.
But countries like Spain, France, Italy announced that they decided to introduce compulsory COVID-19 tests on passengers arriving from China.
In addition, authorities in the United Kingdom also confirmed that travellers from China who plan to reach this territory will be subject to a mandatory Coronavirus test upon their arrival.