EU to ease Covid test rules for China travelers as outbreak ebbs

The European Union is planning to ease Covid-19 testing requirements for people traveling from China, though a number of major nations around the world will keep their regimens in place.

The EU said on Thursday that its member states have agreed to phase out pre-departure testing requirements by the end of February and will end random tests from travelers from China by mid-March. Some countries in the union, including France and Italy, have already eased their restrictions.

China’s abrupt abandonment of Covid Zero late last year unleashed a record wave of infections that, combined with a lack of reliable data on the outbreak, sparked concerns about the possibility of new strains of the virus emerging. So far, those fears haven’t materialized with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reporting it hasn’t found any new variants. 

Japan is likely to join the EU in easing curbs soon, with local media reporting the country is considering easing some rules for travelers from China as soon as this month.

But a list of other nations are keeping restrictions in place for now. The US, Canada and Australia still require negative tests for arrivals from China. South Korea also still mandates a negative pre-arrival test result, even as it resumes issuing short-term visas for Chinese visitors.  – BLOOMBERG