TESTS Not all countries are imposing tests. European Union members, in particular, are divided. Over the past days, officials in France, Germany and Portugal have said they saw no need for now for new restrictions, while Austria has stressed the economic benefits of Chinese tourists' return to Europe.
Global spending by Chinese visitors was worth more than $250 billion a year before the pandemic. Acting a day after EU health officials failed to agree on a joint course of action, Spain followed Italy's lead to become the second of the bloc's 27 members to require tests for travellers from China. "At a national level, we will implement airport controls requiring all passengers coming from China to show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of a full vaccination course," Health Minister Carolina Darias said.
EU health experts are expected to hold a crisis response meeting next week, according to an EU source. In the meantime, EU health chief Stella Kyriakides wrote to the bloc's health ministers to suggest they immediately scale up genomic sequencing of COVID-19 infections and monitoring of wastewater, including from airports, to detect any new variants given the virus surge in China.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention is also considering sampling wastewater from international aircraft to track any emerging new variants, the agency told Reuters.