European health officials called screenings and restrictions on travelers from China unjustified, a stark contrast to the growing number of countries calling for tougher measures.
Europeans have high levels of protection against Covid-19, and health systems on the continent can handle the current load of infections, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said on Thursday (Dec 29).
It was commenting in the wake of decisions by countries ranging from the US to Italy to Japan to introduce Covid tests for all travelers from China. Beijing’s recent move to scrap its strict zero-Covid policies has sparked a surge in infections in China, and worries elsewhere about new variants.
Italy’s plan to test arrivals from China followed its discovery that almost half of the passengers on two recent flights from the country were positive for Covid. It said on Thursday that sequencing showed the strains were Omicron.
So far, the European Commission has refrained from following Italy’s lead. It downplayed the risks, noting that Omicron is already present in Europe and has “not significantly grown.”
“However, we remain vigilant and will be ready to use the emergency brake if necessary,” the commission added.
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