BRUSSELS – The European Union on Wednesday “strongly encouraged” member states to impose pre-departure covid-19 tests on passengers from China.
After a week of consultations by EU health experts, the bloc agrees that all 27 member states will impose travel restrictions already implemented at the national level by member states such as Italy, France and Spain. I didn’t reach it. Instead, it simply urged countries to do so.
China has already vehemently rejected such actions, and has warned that it will take “countermeasures” if such policies are imposed on the entire bloc.
In a statement, the EU presidency said member states had “agreed on coordinated precautionary measures”, but did not reach full agreement on some of the approaches.
“Member States are strongly encouraged to introduce a requirement for a negative covid-19 test for all passengers departing from China to Member States,” the statement said at its most important part.
On other issues, the EU said it fully agreed that passengers should wear masks when entering and leaving China, and that they would be offered advice on personal hygiene and health issues.
Earlier Wednesday, European Commission spokesman Tim McPhee said that “an overwhelming majority of countries are in favor” of imposing tests on passengers from China before departure. But the EU apparently could not find an agreement binding them all.
The Chinese government and European health experts say there is no pressing need to restrict travel across the board, as a variant of the coronavirus that emerged from China is already circulating in Europe.
On Wednesday, the International Air Transport Association, which represents about 300 airlines around the world, gave a strong voice to the protests.
IATA Director General Willie Walsh said: “It is very disappointing to see this knee-jerk resurrection of measures that have proven ineffective over the past three years.
“A study conducted on the arrival of the Omicron variant concluded that putting up barriers to travel would make no difference to the peak of the spread of the infection. It’s been delayed a day,” said Walsh.
Still, many countries have recently taken measures against travelers from China, given the lack of outbreak data from the Chinese government, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday. He said he understood why.
The EU also said it approached it “with particular regard for the need for sufficient and reliable data” from China. He said he would reassess the situation a week later by the middle of the month.
Mao Ning, a Chinese government spokesman, said on Wednesday, one day after threatening countermeasures, that he sincerely hoped that all parties would avoid politicizing the novel coronavirus and focus on fighting the epidemic itself. there is,” he said.
Still, the EU has attempted to take some joint action to ensure that passengers entering from China do not infect the continent with a potential new variant.
Fearing to go unnoticed, as in the early days of the pandemic in early 2020, the EU Integrated Political Crisis Response Group wants swift action and has decided to encourage on some issues instead of imposing measures. became.