Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

European countries accused of ignoring science with Chinese Covid rules

European countries accused of ignoring science with Chinese Covid rules

Industry figures and medical experts have criticised new measures imposed by many governments saying they are motivated by politics rather than science.
European countries have been accused of ignoring scientific advice in requiring travellers from China to show a negative Covid-19 test before boarding flights to the continent.

Belgium, Germany and Sweden became the latest European Union members to introduce new measures ahead of the expected increase in tourist numbers when China eases some of its travel restrictions this weekend.

They join France, Italy and Spain in requiring passengers to present negative tests before flying. Britain, a non-EU member, also requires a negative preflight test.

An EU spokesperson said the rules were needed because of a lack of transparency about China’s outbreak from the authorities.

“The commission considers that given the circumstances, which include the scarcity of reliable data on the epidemiological situation in China, we need to take a precautionary approach,” said Tim McPhie, a commission spokesman, on Friday.

Lars Danielsson, Sweden’s ambassador to the EU, whose country holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, said it was important to tell Beijing there was a problem with the data.

“One of the reasons why we need to do this is that they have not been so forthcoming about providing statistics about what the situation actually is in China right now,” he told Politico.

But epidemiologists and industry figures have accused governments of having a political motive for targeting Chinese travellers.

“There is no scientific basis for the introduction of point of entry/point of exit testing for Covid in international travellers and if the newspapers are to be believed that is a view held by senior health officials,” said Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia in Britain.

“We’ve known since well before Covid that point of entry/point of exit screening (whether screening for fever or testing for the virus) is largely ineffective at controlling the international spread of infectious diseases,” he added.

Earlier in the week, the European Centre for Disease Control played down the risk of a ripple effect through the continent, even if it bemoaned the “lack of reliable data” from Beijing.

“Given higher population immunity in the EU … a surge in cases in China is not expected to impact the Covid-19 epidemiological situation in the EU,” the centre wrote in a note on Tuesday.

By contrast, it warned on Thursday that the new Omicron variant XBB. 1.5 currently spreading rapidly in the United States “could have an increasing effect on the number of Covid-19 cases in the EU/EEA, but not within the coming month”.

Aviation industry figures accused governments of acting “more for populist reasons rather than to attain public health goals”.

“We all know that uncertainty prevents companies from planning, programming and selling travel and holidays,” Eric Drésin, secretary general of the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations, told Politico.

The International Air Transport Association said “governments must base their decisions on ‘science facts’ rather than ‘science politics’”.

“Governments should listen to the advice of experts, including the [World Health Organization], that advise against travel restrictions,” said its director general, Willie Walsh, who also called for China to “remove the need for pre-departure Covid-19 testing for those travelling to China”.

The blowback came after EU states began following a recommendation from Brussels to introduce testing requirements – even if the guidelines were being implemented in a patchwork manner.

Belgium, for instance, only requires a negative test from passengers on the four direct flights per week between Beijing and Brussels. Visitors travelling indirectly from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau will not be affected.

In Sweden, however, Hong Kong and Macanese travellers will need to provide a negative test before departure. Furthermore, Swedish citizens and long-term EU residents will be exempt from the testing rules, even if they are flying directly from mainland China.

Simon Hoff, a spokesman for the Swedish health ministry, said that its citizens had an “unconditional right to enter the country”, when asked why the standards were not universally applied.

“According to the constitution, there is no right to prevent a citizen from entering the country. EU citizens and third-country nationals who enjoy the same right to free movement as Union citizens should also retain the option of returning to the Union,” Hoff said.

In the Netherlands, health minister Ernst Kuipers urged the national senate to return from recess to pass a law that would allow the country to introduce restrictions on travellers from China.

Germany said it would require passengers from China to take a test before flying and there will also be random tests at German airports.

Poland and Bulgaria, on the other hand, said they had no plans to introduce restrictions.

“There is no mutation in China that would have been a threat to us at the moment. We are constantly monitoring the situation and if a response is needed, it will follow,” said Wojciech Andrusiewicz, a spokesman for Poland’s health ministry, according to Bloomberg.

Spanish experts defended the country’s decision to require vaccination records or a negative PCR test from travellers from China, but said the real challenge would start with an influx of visitors around the Lunar New Year holiday later this month, by which point all EU members should have a coordinated response.

There should be a “global and coordinated manner at the European Union level”, said the president of the Spanish Society of Immunology, Marcos López Hoyos, according to the EFE news agency.

Related Articles

Budapest Post
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Shell reports highest profits in 115 years
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Hungary ready to sue EU over cuts to Erasmus funding
EU against democracy: Hungary's mail-in poll on Russia sanctions dismissed by Brussels
2023 - The Year of the Rabbit
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules