US considers restrictions on Chinese arrivals
The US is considering imposing new Covid restrictions on Chinese arrivals, after Beijing announced it would reopen its borders next month.
American officials say this is due to a lack of transparency surrounding the virus in China, as cases surge.
On Wednesday, Italy announced plans to enforce mandatory testing, after tighter measures were outlined by Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and India.
Beijing said coronavirus rules should be brought in on a “scientific” basis.
Officials in the Italian city of Milan are already testing passengers on flights from China.
On one flight, which landed at the city’s Malpensa Airport on Boxing Day, 52% of passengers were found to be positive for Covid, la Repubblica reports.
He said this was “essential to ensure the surveillance and identification” of any new variants of the virus, and to “protect the Italian population”.
Italy was ravaged by Covid during the first outbreak in 2020, with the northern region of Lombardy – near Malpensa Airport – at one point becoming the global epicentre of the virus after it spread from China.
An EU Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said while member states had agreed to remove Covid travel restrictions earlier this year, there was an understanding that, if necessary, they could be reintroduced in a coordinated manner.
She also said that the BF7 omicron variant – prevalent in China – was already present in Europe and had failed to become dominant.
Passport applications for Chinese citizens wishing to travel internationally will resume from 8 January, the country’s immigration authorities have said.
“There are mounting concerns in the international community on the ongoing Covid-19 surges in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data,” US officials said in a statement quoted by news agencies.(BBC)