EU discusses coordinated approach to reopening borders in China and Covid-19 infections

The European Commission organised a meeting this Thursday morning to "discuss possible measures for a coordinated response" by EU member states after the Chinese decision to reopen its borders and allow its citizens to travel.

The aim is to talk with EU member states and European health agencies about possible measures for a coordinated European approach, an EU Commission spokesperson said. After the cessation of the zero-covid policy in China, which led to a large wave of infections, several countries worldwide are concerned that new virus variants could spread from China.

Italy already decided on Wednesday to impose mandatory tests on all travellers from China. Japan and the US took the same measure.

Europe is not the top destination

The Chinese media CNBC remarks that now that China is set to reopen its borders, locals are rushing to plan overseas travel for the Lunar New Year in late January.

"Within half an hour of China’s announced policy change, searches for travel abroad surged to a three-year high," says CNBC, quoting a survey by the Group.

According to the survey, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and the UK made the list of the top 10 destinations Chinese people want to visit outside their country, besides Macao and Hong Kong. The list "did not include any countries on the European continent", writes CNBC.

Bruges gets ready

The mayor of Bruges, one of the towns in Belgium most visited by international travellers, called Chinese visitors to face Covid tests or mandatory vaccine requirements after an explosion of cases in China, Belga News Agency reported on Wednesday.

Dirk De Fauw told Belga that he was alarmed at the prospect of an influx of tourists from China to Bruges. The medieval town used to welcome up to 150,000 visitors from China each year before the pandemic.

“The infection rate is still very high (in China). I think we have to work either with a vaccination certificate or with tests,” said the mayor, asking for a solution “at the European level” too.



#FlandersNewsService | Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Chinese President Xi Jinping, King Philippe - Filip of Belgium and Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping during a ceremony after a visit to the historical city of Brugge, 1 April 2014 © BELGA PHOTO (DENIS CLOSON)


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