BRUSSELS (Reuters) -European Union government officials recommended on Wednesday that passengers flying from China to the EU should have a negative COVID-19 test before they board, as Beijing plans to ease travel restrictions despite a wave of new COVID infections.
The recommendation comes from the EU's Integrated Political Crisis Response group (IPCR), which is a body made up of officials from the EU's 27 governments, and is in line with a recommendation made earlier by the European Commission.
China plans to ease travel restrictions on Jan 8, despite a wave of new infections which has left Chinese hospitals and funeral houses overwhelmed.
The IPCR also recommended that all passengers on flights to and from China should wear face masks, that EU governments introduce random testing of passengers arriving from China and that they test and sequence wastewater in airports with international flights and planes arriving from China.
The IPCR said that, together with the European Centre for Disease Control, the Commission's foreign affairs department and the World Health Organisation would continue to monitor the epidemiological situation in the EU and developments in China.
"The Member States agree to assess the situation and review the introduced measures by mid-January 2023," the IPCR said in statement.
The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) said last week it did not currently recommend measures on travellers from China, because the variants circulating in China were already in the European Union.
The ECDC also said EU citizens had relatively high vaccination levels and the potential for imported infections was low compared to daily infections in the EU, with healthcare systems currently coping.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philippa Fletcher)
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