China Covid surge not expected to 'significantly impact' Europe: WHO
Travellers from a Xiamen Airlines flight are greeted by Thai health and government officials as they arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on January 9, 2023, as China removed Covid-19 travel restrictions. China lifted quarantine requirements for inbound travellers on Sunday, ending almost three years of self-imposed isolation even as the country battles a surge in Covid cases.
(Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)
(AFP) - The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it did not expect a surge of Covid-19 cases in China to "significantly impact" the situation in Europe.
"The ongoing surge in China is not anticipated to significantly impact the Covid-19 epidemiological situation in the WHO European Region at this time," Hans Kluge, WHO's Europe director, told a press conference.
But, he stressed, "we cannot be complacent".
China's hospitals have been overwhelmed by an explosion in cases since Beijing began unwinding hardline controls that had torpedoed the economy and sparked nationwide protests.
The WHO's European region comprises 53 countries and includes Russia and countries in Central Asia.
The regional director also said it was "not unreasonable for countries to take precautionary measures to protect their populations" but called for such measures "to be rooted in science, to be proportionate and non-discriminatory".
More than a dozen countries have slapped fresh travel regulations on travellers from China.
A group of European Union experts last week "strongly encouraged" the bloc's 27 member states to demand Covid tests from people on flights from China and conduct random tests on arrivals.
Kluge also urged countries to step up surveillance efforts such as sequencing variants, noting that many had "greatly reduced" their capacities.
© Agence France-Presse