France imposes tests from China, Xi Jinping tries to reassure the world – Liberation

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The end of Chinese health measures in the face of the virus is causing concern for many countries that want to protect themselves from any new outbreak of the epidemic.

It is a kind of quintessence of performative speech. While Chinese hospitals are overwhelmed by a surge of Covid patients and crematoria are overwhelmed, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured on Saturday, without laughing, that “the light of hope (was) before us” .

Beijing’s announcement of the end of mandatory quarantines upon arrival on national soil, as of January 8, marks the disappearance of the last vestige of the “zero Covid” policy that isolated the country for almost three years. It created a rush on international flights, which worried the rest of the international community.

The approach of the Lunar New Year, on January 22, a period traditionally characterized by an astronomical number of trips, raises fears that the epidemic will start again outside the borders. A review of the details of the health measures taken or foreseen around the world in the face of this new Chinese situation.

France asks travelers from China to test negative

From January 5, travelers boarding in China for France will have to present a negative Covid-19 screening test at the start of their flight. And from Sunday January 1, tests will also be carried out on random arrival, with positive samples being sequenced to detect any new variants of the virus. The travelers “will be busy” in the beginning “to isolate” if they test positive upon arrival, the government source said. In addition, it will be mandatory to wear a mask on board flights departing from China to France.

In the microphone of France Inter On Thursday morning, the president of Covars, – a new scientific council -, Brigitte Autran, had however been shaded on the effectiveness of a systematic screening of the citizens of China upon their arrival in the territory. “Border screening has never prevented the virus from entering borders“, indicated. For the immunologist, the only one “potential interest” is to analyze the “a kind of variant that the Chinese wear when they arrive in France”.

Italy and Spain, the first European countries to impose restrictions

Italy has decided to impose mandatory tests on all travelers coming from China, faced with an explosion in Covid cases, announced the Italian Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci on Wednesday afternoon. “This measure is essential to guarantee the surveillance and individualization of possible variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population.“, he said in a statement. It should be noted, however, that health is a competence managed at the level of each region in Italy. Lombardy, where the Milan Malpensa international airport is located, had implemented a similar measure particularly on Tuesdays.

The Spanish government also announced on Friday the establishment of “controls” at its airports for travelers coming from China to ensure that they were not carriers of the Covid virus. In a short press conference in Madrid, the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, indicated that these travelers will be asked “proof that they are negative […] or a complete vaccination schedule’.

Israel will impose tests

The Israeli Ministry of Health announced on Friday the imposition of Covid screening tests for foreign travelers from China. “It has been decided that foreign airlines will accept foreign nationals on a flight from China to Israel only if they are tested (negative) for Covid”said in a press release the new Minister of Health, Arié Dery.

The United States will also test

After a day of reflection, the decision came down on Wednesday evening: the United States will also require a negative Covid test. From January 5, “All air travelers aged two years or older coming from China will be required to take a test no more than two days before departure,” regardless of nationality or vaccination status, a US health official said.

Japan, suspicious of its neighbor

Japan will reinstate mandatory PCR testing for travelers from mainland China starting Friday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced. Chinese visitors will therefore be the only ones automatically required to take a Covid test (except for any traveler who shows symptoms upon arrival in Japanese territory).

The head of government justified this decision because of the difficulty to precisely establish the situation [en Chine] due to significant differences between central and local authorities as well as between government and the private sector. This is generating growing concern in Japan.” Malaysia announced a similar decision.

For India, all of Asia in sights

India went back. A month ago, New Delhi ended health documents when entering its territory, easing its health surveillance policy. But from Saturday, the government of Narandra Modi again imposed PCR tests for travelers coming from China but also from Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, where the epidemic has not yet broken out .

Taiwan makes a strong decision

Amid renewed tensions between the two countries, the island of Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, has also announced that it will carry out virus checks on travelers from the mainland.

Update: this Saturday at 2:45 pm with new statements from Xi Jinping.

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