PARIS, Dec. 30 (AP) — France and Spain will impose stricter COVID-19 measures on travelers from China, authorities said Friday.
The French government required negative tests and urged French citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China. France has also reintroduced mask requirements on flights from China to France.
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French health authorities will conduct random PCR tests at airports on passengers arriving from China to identify potential novel coronavirus variants.
France and Spain said they would continue to push for Europe-wide policies.
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French hospitals have struggled in recent weeks with a flood of patients due to three simultaneous outbreaks: seasonal flu, a wave of bronchitis cases and COVID-19.
Earlier, the Spanish government said it would require all air passengers from China to have a negative test or proof of vaccination.
Health Minister Carolina Darias told reporters that Spain would push for similar measures at European level as cases surged in China. Spanish airports will step up coronavirus health controls, she said.
Darias did not specify when the new requirements would take effect.
Spain’s announcement came after Italy said it would require coronavirus testing for air passengers arriving from China.
Health officials from the 27 EU member states pledged on Thursday to continue negotiations to find a common approach but refrained from imposing restrictions.
“There are shared international and domestic concerns about the evolution of cases in China and the difficulty of making a proper assessment of the COVID-19 situation given the insufficient information we have,” Darías said.
Darias pointed out that China will lift travel restrictions from January 8, and the number of people traveling abroad may increase significantly.
She said the main concern was the possible emergence of new variants of the coronavirus and it was important to act quickly.
The United States announced new COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers from China on Wednesday, joining some Asian countries that have imposed restrictions. Japan began requiring testing of passengers arriving from China on Friday. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)