EU holds strategy talks as alarm grows over China's Covid surge

AFP - NOEL CELIS

The European Commission is meeting Thursday to discuss a bloc-wide strategy faced with a surge in China's Covid-19 epidemic. While France says it's not planning on introducing health checks on Chinese travellers for the moment, the government has instructed airports and airlines to prepare for testing.

Representatives of the EU-27 health ministries were on Thursday meeting in Brussels to "discuss [...] possible measures for a coordinated approach" in the light of the pandemic situation in China.

Hospitals across China are reportedly overwhelmed by a dramatic increase in infections after Beijing's decision to suddenly ease its zero-Covid policy earlier this month, including removing curbs on overseas travel.

Its strict rules, which had largely kept the virus at bay, have sparked widespread protests.

This week Beijing said it would end mandatory quarantine on arrival – prompting many people in China to make plans to travel abroad.

A number of countries, including the US, are worried about new variants spreading from China.

On Wednesday the US announced it would require negative Covid tests for all travellers arriving from mainland China.

Italy has also decided to impose compulsory tests on travellers from China, following similar announcements from Japan and India.

France closely monitoring situation

Following French President Emmanuel Macron's announcement that he had "requested appropriate measures to protect" citizens, the government said it would also alert airports and airlines of the need for possible testing.


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