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European COVID checks on China arrivals ‘unjustified’: Industry body

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European branch of the International Airports Council yesterday denounced COVID checks imposed by several European countries on passengers coming from China as “scientifically unjustified” and “uncoordinated”.

Beijing has abruptly ended its “zero COVID” policy, resulting in an explosion of infections in the country.

In response France, Italy, Spain and Britain, along with the United States and South Korea, decided this week to impose COVID testing requirements on travellers from China.

“These unilateral actions are at odds with all the experience and evidence gained over the past three years… imposing other restrictions for travellers from this country is neither scientifically justified nor risk based,” ACI Europe said in a statement.

The federation, which represents more than 500 airports in 55 European countries, was highly critical of the “chaotic” health restrictions in different countries at the height of the pandemic.

“We are once again plunging back into a patchwork of unjustified and uncoordinated travel restrictions, which have no basis in scientific fact… These travel restrictions do not work and current arrangements for EU coordination have failed once again,” said Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe’s director general.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), one of the EU’s health agencies, said on Thursday that systematic screening of travellers was “unjustified” given the level of immunity in Europe and the presence on the continent of the same variants as in China.

Travellers queue at the immigration desk of Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle international airport in France. PHOTO: AFP

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