France, Britain impose Covid tests on travellers from China


France and Britain on Friday joined a growing list of nations imposing Covid tests on travellers from China, after Beijing dropped foreign travel curbs despite surging cases.

France, Britain, Spain, South Korea and Israel have joined Italy, Japan, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States in requiring negative Covid tests for all travellers from mainland China, in a bid to avoid importing new virus variants.

In Britain's case, the requirement comes into effect from January 5.

Switzerland however said it would keep its borders open for arrivals from China.

Different European approaches

The European Union's infectious disease agency (ECDC) had said on Thursday such restrictions were not warranted for the moment, due to the high levels of immunity in the EU and European Economic Area.

Germany seemed to take that on board Friday, saying it did not currently see the need to impose routine tests on arrivals from China.

But Health Minister Karl Lauterbach did argue for a coordinated EU-wide system to monitor variants across European airports.

"We need a European solution," he said.

But on Friday, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides urged health ministers to step up Covid-19 variant sequencing amidst a surge in infections in China.

(With agencies)

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