Europe imposes COVID-19 restrictions on Chinese travelers

PARIS — France, Spain and England will apply stricter control measures to passengers coming from China due to the COVID-19authorities reported Friday.

The French government will require negative diagnostic tests and urges French citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China. France is also reintroducing the requirement to wear a mask on flights from China.

French health authorities will carry out random PCR tests at airports on passengers coming from China to identify possible new variants of the coronavirus. The new rules will go into effect on Sunday, but authorities said it will take a few days before they are fully implemented.

The UK government announced that anyone traveling to England on direct flights from China will be required to undergo a pre-departure diagnostic test from January 5.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay described the measures as “temporary” while officials assess COVID-19 statistics.

France and Spain affirmed that they will continue to press for the adoption of a policy at European level.

French hospitals have had to deal with large numbers of patients in recent weeks due to three simultaneous outbreaks: the seasonal flu, a surge in bronchitis cases and COVID-19.

Previously, the Spanish government had announced that it would require all air passengers from China to test negative or present proof of vaccination.

Spain made the announcement after Italy said it would require coronavirus tests for air passengers coming from China. Health authorities from the 27-member European Union vowed on Thursday to continue talks to seek a common approach, but refrained from imposing restrictions.

Darias noted that China will lift travel restrictions from January 8 and that a significant increase in people traveling abroad is likely. He said the main concern was the possible emergence of new coronavirus variants and it was important to act quickly.

The United States on Wednesday announced new COVID-19 diagnostic testing requirements for travelers from China. Japan began on Friday to require diagnostic tests for passengers coming from China.