Italy detects positives for covid in half of the passengers on two flights from China

Italian health authorities have begun testing all passengers on flights from China for covid, after the virus was detected in almost half of the passengers on two flights to Milan.

The country is now sequencing those tests to see if there are any new variants coming from China, the Italian Health Ministry said in a statement. If a new variant is detected, the government could impose stricter restrictions. Uncertainty about the scale of the magnitude of the spread has led other countries, such as Japan, India or Malaysia, to consider new restrictions on income from the country.

While the high rate of passengers with the virus has put authorities on alert, one factor in Italy’s favor is its high vaccination rate. More than 80% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the World Health Organization, and many have also received booster shots.

The situation in the Asian country

China has lifted the quarantine requirement to enter the country in an attempt to return to normality, although the truth is that many travelers are planning to travel to the eastern country taking into account that covid cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks. .

On December 7, the Chinese State Council lifted the quarantine obligation for infected people or close contacts. Now it will only require that those who enter the country present a negative test carried out 48 hours before. One more step in his change of ‘covid zero’ policy, after the huge protests against the confinements.

A Covid patient lies on a bed at Tianjin Nankai Hospital in Tianjin on December 28, 2022.

Noel Celis / AFP

Almost three years later, largely pressured by the demonstrations rejecting the forced confinement in state centers, the closure of cities and the economic problems generated by this strategy, China has decided to relax its anti-covid measures.

The date decided for the opening is related to the vacation days they have in China for the Chinese New Year, which in 2023 will be January 22 (from January 21 to 27 are public holidays). The Council of State thus seeks a reactivation of tourism, both internal and outbound. What the Chinese authorities have requested is that the departures on the next vacation dates be staggered to avoid a new wave of infections.


A group of covid patients at the Tianjin First Center Hospital.

Noel Celis / AFP

The problem is that covid cases have skyrocketed in the country in recent weeks and in many Chinese cities infections number in the thousands with hospitals overloaded with workload limits.

China’s National Health Commission announced on Sunday that it will stop publishing daily coronavirus cases as the country sees an exponential rise in cases after easing some restrictions. Some 248 million people in China, 18% of the population, have tested positive for coronavirus in the first three weeks of December.

China assures that the situation is under control

The Government of China has assured this Wednesday that the epidemiological situation around the coronavirus pandemic is “under control”, amid the rebound in cases detected in recent weeks after the relaxation of restrictions. “At this time, the development of the epidemiological situation in China is as expected and is under control,” said the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, who explained that “Beijing was the first to pass the peak of the epidemic and production and life there are gradually returning to normal.”

“All countries in the world will go through a period of adaptation when they adjust their epidemic prevention policies and the case of China is no different,” he said, while stressing that the authorities are working to contain the situation throughout the country.


A passenger plane lands at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, on December 27, 2022.

Wu Hao / EFE

Thus, Wang lamented that “some Western media have deliberately exaggerated or even distorted the adjustment in China’s epidemic prevention and control policy, avoiding talking about the high price that the country has paid for prevention in the face of the pandemic”, according to the Chinese portal Sina.

“The fact is that for the past three years, since the start of the pandemic, the Chinese government has always put people and life above everything else,” he argued. “From a global perspective, the rate of seriously ill and dead in China is the lowest,” she concluded.

The Chinese government announced on Monday that as of January 8 it will reopen its borders and eliminate the need for quarantine in a new step in the relaxation of restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

USA, concerned about the increase in cases in China

The United States is also considering adopting new anti-covid measures for travelers from China due to the increase in infections of this virus in the country, as reported to Bloomberg.

Several US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have stressed that the Biden Administration is concerned about rising cases in China, raising questions about the transparency of the data being released on the spread of the virus.

The interior of a plane heading to China from New York's JFK airport on December 24, 2022.

The interior of a plane heading to China from New York’s JFK airport on December 24, 2022.


The Xi Jinping Administration announced this Monday that as of January 8 it will reopen its borders and eliminate the need for quarantine in a new step in the relaxation of restrictions.

China was the country where the covid was first detected and so far has officially confirmed 4.4 million cases and 16,764 deaths. In the last 28 days, 815,995 cases and 787 deaths related to the disease have been reported.

Italy detects positives for covid in half of the passengers on two flights from China