EU agrees to 'coordinated approach' for changing Covid situation

© Aurelien Morissard, AP

The European Union Health Security Committee said on Tuesday EU member states agreed on a "coordinated approach" to the changing Covid-19 situation, adding that included implications for increased travel from China.

EU health chief Stella Kyriakides said the committee worked on targeted measures including pre-departure testing for travellers from China, stepped up wastewater monitoring and increased domestic surveillance.

An "overwhelming majority" of the EU's 27 member countries want passengers coming from China to be systematically tested for Covid before departure, the European Commission said.

The consensus recommendation emerged from a meeting of EU health ministry officials held Tuesday in Brussels.

A crisis meeting to be held Wednesday on the issue will decide what coordinated measures will be applied across the bloc.

The gatherings were called in the wake of China deciding to lift its "zero Covid" policy, which has sparked massive demand for flights to other parts of the world by Chinese citizens and residents who had been grounded for nearly three years.

The European Union fears a sudden influx of passengers from China could bring Covid variants that may be able to evade current vaccines.

There are also concerns that China's data on infections is incomplete, partial and insufficient.

"The overwhelming majority of countries are in favour of pre-departure testing," a commission spokesman said after Tuesday's meeting.


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