BRUSSELS – EU countries have agreed to phase out Covid-19 restrictions on travellers from China that were put in place to guard against possible new coronavirus variants after China’s reopening prompted a surge in infections there.
Health experts from the 27 EU members agreed at a meeting on Thursday (Feb 16) that they would end the requirement for negative pre-departure Covid tests by the end of February, the Swedish presidency of the EU said.
They would also stop random testing of travellers from China by the middle of March.
The moves were also agreed by non-EU members of the Schengen free travel zone – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
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The countries agreed on the pre-arrival tests and post-arrival random checks on Jan 4, ahead of China’s easing of its travel restrictions on Jan 8, one of the last vestiges of the world’s strictest regime of Covid restrictions.
The measures served only as a recommendations for EU members. Some countries, such as France and Italy, imposed mandatory Covid tests and virus sequencing for passengers coming from China, although Italy loosened its controls at the end of January.