PARIS (AP) — France, Spain and England will implement stricter COVID-19 measures for passengers arriving from China, authorities said Friday.
The French government requires negative tests and urges French citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China. France is also reintroducing mask requirements on flights from China to France.
French health authorities will carry out random PCR tests at airports on passengers arriving from China to identify possible new variants of the coronavirus. The new rules will go into effect on Sunday, but authorities said it will take a few days before they are fully implemented.
The UK government announced that anyone traveling to England on direct flights from China will be required to take a pre-departure test from January 5.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the UK was taking a “balanced and precautionary approach”. He described the measures as “temporary” while officials assess COVID-19 statistics.
France and Spain said they would continue to push for a policy at the European level.
Hospitals in France have struggled in recent weeks with large numbers of patients due to three simultaneous outbreaks: the seasonal flu, a wave of bronchitis cases and COVID-19.
Earlier, Spain’s government said it would require all air passengers coming from China to have negative tests or proof of vaccination.
Health Minister Carolina Darías told reporters that Spain would promote similar measures at the European level after the increase in cases in China. She said coronavirus health checks would be intensified at Spanish airports.
Darias did not specify when the new requirement would take effect.
Spain made the announcement after Italy said it would require coronavirus tests for airline passengers from China. Health officials from the 27-member European Union vowed on Thursday to continue talks to seek a common approach, but abstained. to impose restrictions.
“There is a shared concern at the international and national level about the evolution of the cases in China and the difficulty of making a correct assessment of the COVID-19 situation given the little information we have available,” Darías said.
Darías pointed out that China will lift travel restrictions as of January 8 and that there is likely to be a significant increase in people traveling abroad. He said the main concern was the possible emergence of new coronavirus variants and it was important to act fast.
The United States announced new COVID-19 testing requirements on Wednesday for travelers from China, joining some Asian nations that had imposed restrictions. Japan began on Friday to demand evidence for passengers arriving from China.