An explosion of Covid-19 cases in China is not expected to have a “significant impact” on virus developments in Europe, said the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, days after the EU recommended member states impose testing measures on travelers coming from China.
“The ongoing surge in China is not anticipated to significantly impact the Covid-19 epidemiological situation in the WHO European Region at this time,” WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge told the press, adding however that “we cannot be complacent”.
Referring to the measures across Europe applicable to travelers from China, WHO’s regional director said it was “not unreasonable for countries to take precautionary measures to protect their populations”. He added however that such measures must “be rooted in science, to be proportionate and non-discriminatory”.
Last week, several EU countries, including Greece, agreed to introduce pre-departure Covid-19 testing on all arrivals from China as well as mask wearing on flights from China, wastewater monitoring for aircraft arriving from China, genomic surveillance at airports with monitoring and sequencing and increased EU vigilance on testing and vaccination.
On Monday, world travel and tourism bodies, including airline associations, said the EU’s recommendations were “regrettable” and a “knee-jerk reaction”.
China has seen a surge in coronavirus cases after it dismantled its strict “zero-Covid” policy a month ago. Kluge did urge countries to step up surveillance efforts.
A WHO committee is scheduled to convene on January 27 to decide whether the Covid -19 pandemic still constitutes a global emergency, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.