Pandemic: Corona in China: More and more countries are ordering compulsory testing

In response to the current wave of corona infections in China, more and more countries are tightening their controls on people entering China.

Pandemic: Corona in China: More and more countries are ordering compulsory testing

In response to the current wave of corona infections in China, more and more countries are tightening their controls on people entering China. France and England also announced compulsory testing on Friday evening, after Italy, Spain, the USA, India and South Korea had previously introduced or promised restrictions on travelers from China.

WHO calls for more data

At a meeting with representatives of Chinese health authorities, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for more detailed and faster status reports on the infection process in the People's Republic.

During the exchange on Friday, the Chinese side was repeatedly asked to collect precise real-time data and share it with the WHO, the Geneva-based organization said. Among other things, this involves information on the genetic sequencing of cases that have tested positive, which should provide a better overview of virus variants that are circulating, as well as numbers on patients in hospitals and intensive care units, deaths and vaccination rates.

It is important to closely "monitor the situation and release data in a timely manner to help China and the world community make appropriate risk assessments and take effective measures."

Warning about new variants

After almost three years of extremely strict precautions, China's leadership abruptly announced an end to its controversial zero-corona policy on December 7th. According to officially unconfirmed internal estimates, 248 million people, or 18 percent of the population, became infected in the first three weeks of December alone. Scientists warn that the corona wave could produce new variants that would then find their way to other countries.

The European Union, which has so far lacked an EU-wide approach, advised on the corona wave in China on Thursday. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides then called on states to review and, if necessary, ramp up their national measures to monitor the virus. It is likely that further action within the EU will be discussed at a crisis meeting next week.

And what is Germany doing?

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) recently considered tightening the entry rules for Germany “not yet necessary”, but announced close “variant monitoring” at European airports.

A coordinated Europe-wide solution is important. "We need very precise "variant monitoring" because we cannot reliably retrieve this variant monitoring from China," he said. "The targeted inspection of individual aircraft, for example, could also play a role here, which is being prepared." But there is no reason for "routine antigen tests". Bavaria called on the federal government to coordinate with the states in a timely manner about possible requirements for travelers from China.

The governments in Paris and London reacted to the latest developments with stricter rules. Before departing from China for France, travelers must present a negative corona test that is no more than 48 hours old from January 1st, as Health Minister François Braun announced. Masks are compulsory on the flight to France, and a PCR test is carried out on arrival. All positive samples should be systematically analyzed for epidemiological surveillance.

According to a statement by the British government, the new corona test requirement for travelers from China will initially only apply to England from January 5th. From January 8th, passengers would also be tested on arrival in England. Although there are no direct flights from China to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the government says it is working to ensure the measure is implemented across the UK as soon as possible.

Spain's Health Minister Carolina Darias also announced that travelers from the People's Republic would have to present a corona test upon entry or prove that they had been fully vaccinated. From when was initially unclear.

In South Korea, from Monday, all people arriving from the neighboring country must undergo a PCR test within one day of entering the country. From next Thursday, everyone who wants to travel from China will have to show a negative corona test beforehand.

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