People are seen waiting in the arrivals area of Terminal 5 at Heathrow International Airport.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
LONDON – The United Kingdom and France said Thursday morning that they currently had no plans to reintroduce mandatory Covid-19 tests or additional requirements for travelers arriving in the country.
It comes as several nations announced new measures in response to China’s easing of Covid restrictions amid a suspected surge in infections, but with a reduction in domestic testing. Beijing ended its quarantine-on-arrival policy on Monday, prompting many to book their first overseas trips in years.
Italy, the center of Europe’s initial outbreak in early 2020, on Wednesday became the first country in the region to announce that antigen swabs would be required of all travelers from China.
A day in December. On Dec. 26 from China at Milan’s Malpensa airport, 52% of passengers tested positive for Covid, La Repubblica reported.
European Union health officials were locked in talks on Thursday to try to coordinate a response.
“From a scientific point of view, there is no reason at this stage to bring back border controls,” Brigitte Autran, head of the French health risk assessment committee COVARS, told Radio Classique of France, according to a Reuters report.
German, Portuguese and Austrian officials were also reluctant to introduce new measures.
But Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told a news conference that her country’s testing measures may be ineffective if they are not applied across the EU, as many travelers enter Italy via other countries Schengen.
He said preliminary tests showed that Covid-positive travelers from China had been exposed to omicron variants, Reuters reported.
Italy’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases reportedly called for increased testing for those arriving from China. “It would be better if surveillance coordination were done at the European level,” the institute said, according to a translation by the Ansa news agency.
“Italy cannot be the only country to carry out anti-Covid checks at airports for those arriving from China,” Italian Transport Minister Matteo Salvini said on Twitter, according to a Google translation.
The US said since January. 5. All arrivals from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau must present a negative Covid test taken within two days of departure.
India will require a negative test for passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, and passengers will be quarantined if they test positive or show symptoms of Covid.
Japan and Taiwan will conduct tests on arrival for passengers from mainland China.
While the UK government said there were no plans to reintroduce Covid tests or additional requirements for arrivals into the country, it said it would monitor the situation until Thursday.
It could herald a change in policy, especially if a wave of other European countries reintroduce testing.
Officials have cited China’s lack of published information on new variants as a reason to step up precautions.
Beijing says its latest outbreak is due to the highly transmissible but less deadly omicron variant. But the lack of data and the country’s track record of obfuscating reality has led many nations to take a cautious approach.