EU Rules Out Screening Chinese Travellers for Covid-19 as China’s Surge Continues

European union’s disease agency and the us centers for disease control and prevention were both involved in the recent discussion about whether or not to screen travellers from china for covid-19. italy urged the rest of the eu to follow its lead and enforce testing and quarantining of chinese arrivals, and the us, japan, taiwan and india also announced mandatory testing. the european centre for disease prevention and control said the surge was “not expected to impact” the eu.

Discussions around testing travellers from china took place on thursday in brussels, and the chinese authorities had previously decided to let people travel more freely from 8 january, after almost three years of largely-closed borders. the uk minister said the issue was “under review”, and the us centers for disease control and prevention said testing visitors from china, hong kong and macau was necessary “to help slow the spread of the virus as we work to identify… any potential new variants that may emerge”.

National health commission published its most recent daily covid data on 24 december, registering 4,128 new cases the day before. analysts say such numbers are a vast underestimate – and the daily case load may be closer to a million. british health data firm airfinity said 9,000 people in china could be dying from covid-19 each day – almost double its previous daily estimate. the world health organization has warned the healthcare system in china could be under severe pressure, and some nearby countries have moved swiftly to announce restrictions. the eu and other countries are taking precautions to try and prevent the spread of the virus, and to identify potential new variants.

By Evey Lovelace

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