January 03, 2023: -On Thursday, the U.K. and France said that they had no plans to reintroduce mandatory Covid-19 tests or additional requirements for travellers arriving in the country.
Several nations announced the recent measures in response to China’s relaxation of Covid restrictions between a suspected surge of infections and decreasing domestic testing. Beijing dropped its quarantine-on-arrival policy, leading many to book their first overseas trips in years.
Italy, the centre of Europe’s initial outbreak in early 2020, on Wednesday became the initial country in the region to state that mandatory antigen swabs would be needed for all travellers coming from China.
German, Portuguese and Austrian officials appear reluctant to introduce recent measures.
But Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated at a press conference that her country’s testing measures might only be effective if implemented across the E.U. since many travellers enter Italy through other Schengen countries.
She said preliminary tests showed that Covid-positive travellers from China had known omicron variants, Reuters stated.
Italy’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases is reportedly known for an increase in the examination for those coming from China. “It would be good if the coordination of surveillance is taking place at the European level,” the institute stated, according to a translation by the Ansa news agency.
“Italy cannot be the country to carry out anti-Covid checks at airports for those coming from China,” Italian Transport Minister Matteo Salvini stated on Twitter, per a Google translation.
The U.S. said from January 5 that all coming back from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau provide a negative Covid test taken within two days of departure.
While the U.K. administration said there were no plans to state Covid tests or additional needs for arrivals into the country, it said it would monitor the situation through Thursday.
It could announce a policy change, especially if a wave of other European countries reintroduce tests.
Officials cited a lack of published information from China on the recent variants as a reason to strengthen precautions.
Beijing says its recent outbreak is down to the highly transmissible but less omicron variant. But a lack of data and the country’s track record obfuscate reality, so many nations are taking a cautious approach.