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The European Union meets on Wednesday and is expected to reach a consensus on COVID-19 virus testing measures for Chinese visitors

Flag of the European Union and China (AP)
Flag of the European Union and China (AP)

Health officials from the 27 member states of the European Union are meeting as scheduled on Wednesday (January 4, 2023) to discuss how to coordinate the response to the health security threats posed by the potential surge in the Chinese number of people entering Europe following Beijing’s sudden lifting of coronavirus travel restrictions.

EU member states such as Italy, France, and Spain have taken the lead in announcing that they will test for the coronavirus or require them to show a negative test result before departure.

Tim McPhie, a spokesman for the European Union, said the vast majority of EU member states were in favor of some form of testing requirement for travelers from China.

Previously, the United States announced new testing requirements for all travelers from China. Some Asian governments have also announced restrictions on arrivals from China due to a surge in infections in China.

Beijing strongly opposes travel restrictions imposed by countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning on January 3 criticized such restrictions as “lack scientific basis” and “unacceptable” and threatened to “take corresponding measures in different situations and on the principle of reciprocity.”

After the Chinese government abruptly ended its dynamic zero-zero policy last month, the number of infections and deaths across China is believed to have risen sharply, but officials have apparently withheld the real figures.

Scientists at the World Health Organization said they wanted “more realistic” reports from China’s top experts on the COVID-19 situation.

Some countries that have announced testing measures for travelers from China say they are largely due to their lack of knowledge of the real situation in China.

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