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Germany to require Covid tests for flights from China

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Tightened entry rules for those travelling from China to Germany, including mandatory Covid-19 testing, are expected to go into effect on Monday.

The stricter entry regulations, proposed in response to the recent rapid spread of Covid-19 infections in China, are expected to be approved by German Cabinet ministers at a meeting on Friday, according to a spokesperson for the Health Ministry.

Germany joins a number of other countries – including Britain, France, Italy, South Korea, the United States and Sweden – in mandating extra travel requirements for travellers from China.

China has seen an unprecedented wave of Covid-19 cases after Chinese authorities abruptly dropped the country’s zero-Covid policy. That policy had involved lockdowns, mass tests and forced quarantine for almost three years.

The new German rules will require travellers from China to show a negative coronavirus test that is no more than 48 hours old before departing for Germany. Airlines are expected to enforce the requirement. German authorities are also planning to randomly check passengers after landing.

Germany and several other countries are also interested in examining waste water from aircraft arriving from China for signs of possible new coronavirus variants. Authorities are already conducting such checks on flights arriving at Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s main hub for intercontinental flights.

EU health experts issued a strong recommendation that member countries impose Covid-19 measures on travellers from China at a meeting on Wednesday but failed to agree on a common set of EU-wide requirements. The experts also advised that passengers aboard flights from China should wear either a surgical mask or an FFP2 (N95) mask on the aircraft.

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