Germany urges EU COVID variant checks for China arrivals

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Germany currently sees no need to impose routine tests on arrivals from China, but is seeking a coordinated system to monitor variants across European airports, said health minister Karl Lauterbach on Friday.

With such a system, new variants of the coronavirus can be detected and taken quickly, the minister said as concerns rise over an explosion in infections in China.

Lauterbach said it was "not yet necessary" for routine tests on passengers from China as all variants currently seen are already known.

However, he said this could still change given that data from China could not be reliably obtained.

Hence, European nations need to "closely watch" their airports, said the minister, adding that he would be holding talks with his French counterpart on Friday afternoon.

"We need a European solution," he said.

"For instance, targeted checks of specific aircraft could play a part here," said Lauterbach.

Coronavirus infections have surged in China, overwhelming hospitals as it unwinds hardline controls that torpedoed the economy and sparked nationwide protests.

A growing number of countries, including the United States, have imposed restrictions on all visitors from mainland China after Beijing decided to end mandatory quarantine on arrival, prompting many jubilant Chinese to make plans to travel abroad.

In the EU, Italy has ordered mandatory coronavirus tests for from China, while Spain said travelers from the Asian giant will have to show proof that they are negative or fully vaccinated.

© 2022 AFP

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