EU urges extra checks for COVID variants given surge in China –


The EU ought to contemplate instantly scaling up genomic sequencing of COVID-19 infections and monitoring of wastewater, together with from airports, to detect any new variants given the virus surge in China, the bloc’s well being chief stated.

In a letter to well being ministers of the EU’s 27 members, Stella Kyriakides stated the bloc needs to be “very vigilant” as China lifted journey restrictions on 8 January as dependable epidemiological and testing information for China had been fairly scarce.

Kyriakides suggested ministers within the letter, which was reviewed by Reuters, to evaluate their present practices on genomic sequencing of the coronavirus “as a right away step”.

If sequencing had been scaled down, international locations would possibly wish to contemplate scaling it again up, she wrote, including that it was vital to proceed or begin surveillance of wastewater, together with sewage from key airports.

If a brand new variant appeared, the bloc wanted to detect it early to have the ability to react shortly, the commissioner wrote.

The commissioner’s letter, dated 29 December, adopted a web based assembly of over 100 representatives from EU members, EU well being businesses and the World Well being Organisation to debate tips on how to cope with the outbreak in China.

Well being specialists are anticipated to carry a disaster response assembly subsequent week, in accordance with an EU supply.

Italy has urged the remainder of the European Union to observe its lead and check travellers from China, however most EU members have stated they noticed no want to take action. Kyriakides stated some EU members had proposed measures such because the random testing of travellers.

Spain stated on Friday it might be part of different international locations setting new restrictions by requiring travellers from China to check unfavourable or present they’ve been totally vaccinated.

The European Centre for Illness Prevention and Management (ECDC) says it doesn’t presently suggest measures on travellers from China.

It stated the variants circulating in China had been already within the European Union, EU residents had comparatively excessive vaccination ranges and the potential imported infections had been low in comparison with the variety of each day infections within the EU, with well being care techniques presently coping.

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