Sweden’s Public Health Agency said 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 has assumed the EU’s rotating presidency, convened a meeting of the EU’s crisis management mechanism for Wednesday in Brussels, where travel restrictions will be discussed with the aim of agreeing a common line.
The Swedish government “is preparing to be able to introduce travel restrictions. At the same time, we are in dialogue with our European colleagues to get the same rules as possible in the EU,” Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer said in a statement.
Chinese health officials said last week that they had submitted data to GISAID, a global platform for sharing data on coronaviruses.
The versions of the virus fueling infections in China “look very similar” to those seen in different parts of the world between July and December, GISAID said Monday.
Dr. Gagandeep Kang, who studies viruses at Vellore Christian Medical College in India, said the information from China, though limited, seemed to suggest that “the pattern was holding” and that there was no sign of a worrisome variant. emergent.
Mao, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that the health authorities had recently held a video conference with the WHO to exchange views on the current Covid situation, medical treatment, vaccination and other technical issues, and agreed continue technical exchanges to help end the pandemic. as soon as possible.
A senior Hong Kong official also criticized measures taken by other countries. Some countries have applied the requirements to passengers from Hong Kong and Macao, both semi-autonomous Chinese territories, as well as mainland China.
Hong Kong Chief Secretary Eric Chan said in a Facebook post that the government had written to several consulates on Monday to express concerns about the “unnecessary and inappropriate” rules.
Some Canadian experts have questioned the effectiveness of the tests. Kerry Bowman, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Temerty School of Medicine, said people can test positive long after entering the country.
The requirement is “not based on science at this point,” he said after Canada announced measures last weekend.
China, which for most of the pandemic adopted a “covid zero” strategy that imposed tough restrictions aimed at eradicating the virus, abruptly eased those measures in December.
Chinese authorities previously said that from January 8, foreign travelers will no longer need to quarantine upon arrival in China, paving the way for Chinese residents to travel.