Spain has become the second European country to announce new COVID restrictions for travelers from China after a spike in cases.
To enter Spain, travelers will need a negative test result or complete vaccination.
It comes after Italy earlier this week ordered COVID antigen swabs and virus sequencing for all travelers arriving from China.
Corona virus infections across China spiked in December after Beijing ended its zero-COVID policies, including regular PCR testing of its population.
China said this week it would end mandatory quarantine on arrival, prompting many Chinese people to plan to travel abroad.
And there are fears that the end of nearly three years of strict measures in the country of 1.4 billion people could lead to a large-scale spread of the disease around the world.
But the European Union’s health agency said on Thursday it believed the introduction of mandatory COVID screening of travelers from China was “unfair”.
Outside the EU, countries that have introduced new restrictions such as mandatory testing include the US, Japan, India, Taiwan and South Korea.
However, such measures are not necessary for the EU as a whole, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a statement.
In the UK, ministers have said the government is reviewing the situation.
Health Minister Will Quince said the “significant risk” was the potential for new strains to emerge.
But Professor Andrew Pollard said the imposition of travel restrictions was unlikely to be effective in preventing the species from arriving in the country.
“Trying to restrict the virus by adjusting what we do with travel already doesn’t work very well,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
COVID regulations for different countries
US: Starting January 5, the US will introduce mandatory COVID-19 tests for travelers arriving from China. All air travelers aged two or older must have a negative result two days before departure from the Mainland, Hong Kong or Macau. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans should also reconsider travel to these places.
India: From January 1, people traveling to India from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand must have a negative COVID test before departure and upload it on the Indian government website.
Japan: The country will require a negative COVID-19 test for travelers arriving from mainland China. Those who come positive will have to stay in quarantine for seven days. The new border measures for China will come into effect from midnight on December 30. The government will also limit requests by airlines to increase flights to China.
Italy: The nation has ordered COVID-19 antigen swabs and virus screening for all travelers arriving from China. Milan’s main airport, Malpensa, has begun screening passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai.
Taiwan: From January 1, all passengers arriving on direct flights from China as well as by boat to the two offshore islands will be required to undergo PCR tests on arrival.
Spain: People traveling to Spain from China will need to test negative for COVID or prove they are fully vaccinated against the disease.
Malaysia: The country will check the body temperature of all incoming passengers, including those from China, and those who have a fever or other symptoms will be tested for COVID. The ministry will also sample sewage from aircraft arriving from China for coronavirus and test it to detect any new arrivals.
Countries monitoring situation Australia: Prime Minister Anthony Albany said Australia was continuing to monitor the situation in China “as we continue to monitor the impact of COVID here in Australia as well as around the world.”
PHILIPPINES: Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the country is “very cautious” and may impose measures such as testing requirements on visitors from China, but not an outright ban.
UK: Ministers have said the government is keeping the situation “under review”.
On Friday, Malaysia announced that it will check the body temperature of all travelers arriving from China, and those who have a fever or other symptoms will be tested for COVID.
It will also sample aircraft sewage from China for the coronavirus and test it to detect any new arrivals.
Countries imposing restrictions cite China’s lack of knowledge about the variety and worry about a wave of infections.
China has dismissed criticism of its COVID data and said it expects future variations to likely be more transmissible but less severe.
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