Faced with the epidemic rebound in China, France has chosen to put in place an arsenal of three measures to protect itself from possible new variants from this country.
Faced with the worrying outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic in China, France and the rest of the world are tightening the screw. In France, since January 1, travelers from China have been subject to controls. BFMTV takes stock of all the measures and the reasons for this special treatment for Chinese passengers.
• What rules are already in place?
Since Sunday, tourists from China can be randomly subjected to PCR tests when entering France. Objective: to detect possible new variants.
Most passengers from China only pass through the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport hub. For those whose final destination is France, their identity is recorded by the agents of the screening center present in the airport. If the test proves positive, travelers are called back and must isolate themselves for seven days, as they consented to when they left.
To reduce risk, Chinese passengers (except those under six) are also required to wear a surgical mask.
• What other measures will soon be put in place?
From Thursday, they will also have to present a negative test (PCR or antigenic) less than 48 hours before the departure of their flight.
All these measures are planned at least until January 31. “In total, 3,000 passengers a week arrive from China, some of which are only in transit,” Transport Minister Clement Beaune said on Sunday, interviewed by BFMTV at Roissy airport.
• How are other countries handling the situation?
In Europe, Italy was the first country to decide on Wednesday to impose mandatory testing on all travelers from China. The country was soon followed by Spain. European Union member states are due to discuss a common response this week.
A few moments after the French government’s announcement, the United Kingdom, in turn, took similar measures (negative test before boarding in China and possibility of testing a sample of passengers on arrival).
Around the world, the United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea and India have also changed their rules for welcoming Chinese travelers. These measures are “understandable” in view of the lack of information provided by Beijing, said Thursday the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Morocco has also adopted another stricter measure: it purely and simply prohibits, from Tuesday, entry into its territory to all travelers from China, “regardless of their nationality”.
• Why is the situation in China worrying the authorities?
France, like the United Kingdom, Italy or the United States, has implemented these protocols in the face of the explosion of cases of coronavirus infections in China, which ended its restrictive measures in early December. . Although the variant mostly sequenced in China is BF.7 (one of the Omicron sub-lines present in France for several weeks), health experts fear the emergence of new variants.
Since the end of the draconian so-called “zero Covid” policy, Chinese hospitals have been overwhelmed by a surge of patients, most of them elderly, and vulnerable because they have been little or not vaccinated.
The country reported some 5,100 new positive cases on Sunday, but only one additional Covid-related death. These largely understated figures appear to be totally out of step with the reality on the ground.
Source: BFM TV