Spain is to require all air passengers arriving from China to have negative Covid-19 tests or proof of vaccination, the government said on Friday.
Health Minister Carolina Darias told reporters that Spain would be pushing for similar measures at a European level following the surge in cases in China. She said Coronavirus health controls would be stepped up at Spanish airports.
Darias didn’t specify when the new requirement will take effect, but it is expected to begin on or before 8 January, which is when quarantine for those arriving in China will be lifted and a huge surge in travel among Chinese nationals is forecast.
Since China dropped its strict zero-Covid policy a few weeks ago after almost three years in place, the number of infections has spiked, with UK experts estimating 9,000 deaths per day as of 30 December.
The Chinese government has since allowed Chinese nationals to travel abroad, and countries are concerned about a new variant spreading and reigniting a pandemic that many considered to be over.
Spain made its announcement after Italy said it would require Coronavirus tests for airline passengers from China. Health officials from the 27-member European Union on Thursday promised to continue talks on seeking a common approach but held back from imposing restrictions.
The United States, along with Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, India and Malaysia also now require negative Covid-19 tests for arrivals from China, and epidemiologists are concerned about the intensive travel period leading up to Chinese New Year in late January. France and the UK have for now said they will not reintroduce Covid travel restrictions.
‘There exists a shared concern internationally and nationally over the evolution of cases in China and the difficulty to make a correct evaluation of the Covid-19 situation given the scant information that we have available,’ Darias said.
The only Covid-19 travel restriction in place for all travellers arriving to or currently in Spain is the requirement of wearing a face mask on planes and other means of public transport, but not inside airports or other transport hubs.
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