The European Commission’s Health and Security committee have held an emergency Covid meeting on Thursday amid China’s response to allowing 1.4 billion access to travel globally.
Spain has now introduced Covid restrictions and all travellers arriving from China will now have to provide “proof they are negative,” Italy was the first European country to introduce such measures.
The Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias told a press conference on Friday that all passengers who arrive in Spain from China must show “proof that they are negative… or a full vaccination list.”
This week China lifted the mandatory quarantine on arrival and this has led to an exodus of people flying abroad.
Across China hospitals have been overwhelmed by an explosion of Covid infections since Beijing scrapped their strict lockdown rules.
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China has been accused of not being forthcoming over what type of variant they have, and Brussels do not know as yet if there could be an explosive outbreak which was seen in late 2019 which then forced the UK into a lockdown in March 2020.
Health experts are concerned that there has been no sharing of data of any signs that Covid may have evolved sparking fears.
On Thursday the European Commission said the BF7 omicron variant which is very prevalent in China is now already active in Europe, but its threat has not significantly grown.
But the EU said in a statement, “However, we remain vigilant and will be ready to use the emergency brake if necessary.”
Professor Andrew Pollard, the chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, “Trying to ban a virus by adjusting what we do with travel has already been shown not to work very well.
“We have seen that with the bans on travel from various countries during the pandemic.
“The important thing is that we have surveillance that when a virus is spreading within our population here in the UK or Europe we are able to pick that up and predict what might happen with the health systems and particularly the more vulnerable in the population.”
He added, “The immunity in the (Chinese) population currently relates to vaccines that have been given in the population over the last couple of years and are different to the vaccines we have had and they have not had the extra immunity from having waves Covid.
“So it is very difficult at this moment to tell whether a variant emerging in China is likely to have any impact here in the UK anyway.
“Testing people travelling from China probably doesn’t really answer the question about whether any new variant that is detected is going to be a problem here.”