EU, Beijing head towards conflict over China’s COVID crisis
BRUSSELS — The European Union and China on Tuesday moved closer to a political stalemate over the COVID-19 crisis, with Beijing vehemently dismissing Travel restrictions some EU countries have already begun to impose may be extended in the coming days.
Government spokesman Mao Ning said an EU offer of help, including vaccine funding, was nothing short of a slap, with Beijing insisting the situation was “under control” and “fully provided” medical terms.
And as the 27-nation bloc moves closer to imposing some restrictions on visitors from China, Beijing has threatened countermeasures.
“We firmly oppose attempts to manipulate COVID measures for political purposes and will take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity,” Mao said.
However, the EU appears to want to take some joint action to ensure passengers arriving from China will not transmit any potential new variants to the continent.
A special EU health security committee together with representatives of EU member states discussed potential measures on Tuesday, and EU spokesman Tim McPhie said that “the majority of countries advocate for pre-departure testing” in China.
Read more: China’s Incredible Turn to Zero-COVID Takes Xi Jinping From Choking Control To Callous Inaction
Sweden, which holds the EU presidency, also said in a statement that “travelers from China need to be prepared for decisions to be made shortly”.
Afraid of not being caught by surprise like before outbreak of a global pandemic in early 2020The EU’s Integrated Political Crisis Response team is now set up on Wednesday to decide whether to impose EU-wide entry requirements from China.
Several member states have announced individual efforts over the past week. At the same time, the EU’s European Center for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that the situation in China does not pose an immediate overall health threat.
“Variants circulating in China are already circulating in the EU and therefore do not pose difficulties for the immune response” of EU citizens, it said in the latest impact study published on Tuesday. Other scientists also say travel restrictions will have little effect on containing the epidemic, but they also emphasize the value of looking for potential variants that are not present in Europe at the moment.
Over the past week, EU states have reacted chaotically with a series of national measures to the crisis in China, disregarding their previous commitment to act united before anything else.
Italy is the first EU member to require coronavirus testing for air passengers arriving from China, but some other countries say such measures may not be the best option to protect citizens. local since then. new variation present from China has appeared in Europe, often for months.
Read more: China’s Zero-COVID Trap
France, Spain and Italy have announced independent measures to implement tougher COVID-19 rules for passengers arriving from China.
The French government is requiring a negative test and urging French citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China. France is also reintroducing mask requirements on flights from China to France.
The Spanish government has said it will require all air passengers arriving from China to have a negative test result or proof of vaccination.
The United States announced new testing requirements on Wednesday for all travelers from China, along with several Asian countries that have imposed restrictions because of a surge in infections.
AP video producer Liu Zheng contributed from Beijing.
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