The European Union continues to consult on possible measures targeting Chinese tourists
Eva Deschamps / December 30, 2022
European Union member states met Thursday with the European Commission to discuss possible Covid precautionary measures for tourists arriving from China.
Beginning January 8, China will once again issue visas to its nationals who wish to travel abroad. The easing follows Beijing's decision to abandon its "zero Covid" policy, practiced since early 2020, in the face of growing public anger. It triggered a rush of international flights after three years of isolation. However, the abrupt abandonment of the "zero Covid" policy is accompanied by a major wave of contamination in China.
Several countries such as the United States, Italy, Japan and South Korea have already announced that they will require a negative Covid test for Chinese tourists entering their territory.
In Belgium, such a measure is not on the agenda, Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) said Wednesday: there are no indications of new variants in China and the Belgian population is well protected against the current variants thanks to vaccination and immunity from previous infections, according to the cabinet.
Belgium is therefore looking to Europe. At this level, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) maintains its assessment of the situation and advocates against travel restrictions. Belgium was also expecting a meeting this morning of the EU Health Security Committee, where the health ministries of the EU and European Economic Area countries meet under the presidency of the Commission, but this consultative body agreed to continue the consultation.
In a tweet, the Commission stressed the "crucial" importance of coordinating national responses to serious cross-border health threats. "We must act jointly and will continue our discussions."
In Italy, no new Covid variants have been detected at this stage in travelers arriving from China. Travelers testing positive are carrying Omicron variants already present in Italy, according to the government.