Sweden’s Public Health Agency said on Tuesday it had urged the government to require travelers from China to present a recent negative Covid-19 test.
The agency’s statement comes as Sweden, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, called a meeting of the EU’s crisis management mechanism on Wednesday in Brussels, where travel restrictions will be discussed with the aim of agreeing on a common line.
The Swedish government “is preparing to be able to impose travel restrictions. At the same time, we are in dialogue with our European colleagues to get the same possible rules in the EU,” Justice Minister Gunnar Stromer said in a statement.
Chinese health officials said last week that they had provided data to GISAID, a global coronavirus data-sharing platform.
GISAID said on Monday that versions of the virus fueling infections in China are “very similar” to those seen in various parts of the world between July and December.
Dr Jagandeep Kang, who studies viruses at the Christian Medical College in Vellore in India, said that information from China, albeit limited, seemed to indicate that “the pattern was consistent” and that there was no sign of a worrying variant emerging.
Mao, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said health authorities recently held a video conference with the World Health Organization to exchange views on the current situation of COVID-19, medical treatment, vaccination and other technical issues, and agreed to continue technical exchanges to help end the epidemic. As soon as possible.
A senior Hong Kong official also criticized the steps taken by some other countries. Some countries have applied the requirements to passengers from Hong Kong and Macao, two semi-autonomous Chinese territories, in addition to mainland China.
Hong Kong’s chief secretary, Eric Chan, said in a Facebook post that the government had written to various consulates on Monday to express concerns about the “unnecessary and inappropriate” rules.
Some Canadian experts have questioned the test’s effectiveness. People can test positive long after entering the country, said Kerry Bowman, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto School of Medicine.
The requirement is “not based on science at this point,” he said, after Canada announced the measures last weekend.
China, which has embraced most of the pandemic’s “zero Covid” strategy of strict restrictions aimed at stamping out the virus, abruptly eased those measures in December.
Chinese authorities earlier said that from January 8, foreign travelers will no longer need to be quarantined upon arrival in China, paving the way for Chinese nationals to travel.
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