Brussels, Jan 4 (IANS) The European Union is expected to require all travellers from China to take pre-departure Covid tests in response to surging levels of the virus, after Beijing hastily abandoned strict controls, the media reported.
France, Italy and Spain already require pre-departure tests on travellers from China and have been urging other EU member states to follow suit. EU officials meeting later on Wednesday in the “integrated political crisis response” format are expected to issue a recommendation of mandatory testing, despite warnings from Beijing of retaliation, The Guardian reported.
“The overwhelming majority of countries are in favour of pre-departure testing,” a European Commission spokesperson said.
“These measures would need to be targeted at the most appropriate flights and airports and carried out in a coordinated way to ensure their effectiveness,” The Guardian reported.
Stella Kyriakides, the European commissioner for health, said experts meeting in the EU’s health security committee on Tuesday had “converged on action” including pre-departure testing, intensified monitoring of plane wastewater and increased surveillance of Covid-19 in the EU.
“Unity remains our strongest tool against Covid,” she wrote on Twitter.
The EU-wide approach — likely to be issued as a recommendation to member state governments — follows similar measures from more than a dozen countries, including the US, the UK, India, Australia and Japan, The Guardian reported.
China’s government has warned of unspecified ‘countermeasures’ in response to the entry restrictions that it says lack scientific basis.
“We are firmly opposed to attempts to manipulate the Covid measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.
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