Rome restores testing for travelers from China, EU meets

Fear of a new wave spreads as China has decided to relax its restrictive measures against Covid-19. After Japan and India, Italy was the first European country to announce Mandatory tests for all travelers from China, before being imitated by the United States. The European Commission convened a meeting on Thursday to “discuss (…) possible measures for a coordinated approach”.

Italy takes the lead

“This measure is essential to guarantee the surveillance and individualization possible variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population”, justified the Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci in a press release. “Surveillance and prevention, through sequencing, are fundamental to identify in due time any new variants that may cause concern and which at this stage are not circulating in Italy,” the ministry said.

The region Lombardy, where the Milanese international airport of Malpensa is located, has already decided to “subject to a molecular test (…) all travelers and crew members from China”, indicates Wednesday on its site dedicated to travelers the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lombardy was the first to be confined in Europe in 2020 to stem the Covid pandemic. Economic heart of the peninsula having Milan as capitalshe is still traumatized by the shock of the first deadly wave of the pandemic.

“This provision comes into force immediately and until January 30, 2023, unless the epidemiological situation is reassessed”, it is specified. In Italy, health is an area of ​​competence for each region, which explains why each of them can take different measures.

Meeting this Thursday in Brussels

The European Commission convened a meeting Thursday to “discuss (…) possible measures for a coordinated approach” of EU states. “In light of the situation of the pandemic in China”, the European executive will convene a committee on Thursday morning bringing together representatives of the ministries of health of the Twenty-Seven, a spokesperson for the Commission told AFP. The objective is to “discuss with the Member States and the European (health) agencies of the EU possible measures for a coordinated European approach”, she specified.

The European Commission should endeavor to prevent certain EU Member States from going it alone by adopting restrictions at their borders without consultation, as at the very beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020. “The BF.7 Omicron variant which prevalent in China is already present in Europe and has not increased significantly there. However, we remain vigilant and ready to use the ”emergency brake” if necessary,” said the Commission spokesperson.

Compulsory tests in the United States from January 5

The United States will require a negative test from January 5 for all travelers coming by plane from China, due to the explosion in the number of cases in this country and the “lack” of information communicated by Beijing, US health authorities announced on Wednesday.

From January 5 at 12:01 a.m. in Washington, “all air travelers aged 2 and over coming from China will have to take a test no more than two days before their departure”, regardless of their nationality or their vaccination status, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement. The measure also applies to passengers from Hong Kong and Macau, the statement said.

The tests will have to be presented to the airlines at the time of departure, he said. PCR or antigen tests will be accepted, as well as proof of having recovered from Covid-19 after testing positive more than 10 days before the flight.

Rome restores testing for travelers from China, EU meets