(Bloomberg) — Italy didn’t find any new concerning Covid-19 mutations in the recent arrivals from China who had tested positive for the virus, a relief for officials worried about fresh health threats.
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Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Italy already sequenced half of the samples tested in Milan and they all show the omicron strain of the coronavirus.
“This is quite reassuring,” she said at a press conference Thursday. “The situation in Italy is under control, and there are no immediate concerns.”
China has scrapped its strict lockdown measures in recent weeks, leading to a surge in infections in the country. While the exact numbers are unclear, the rapid spread has led to concerns around the world about new strains emerging.
The US and Italy on Wednesday joined an increasing number of nations requiring Covid tests for travelers from China, after Japan and Taiwan unveiled similar measures.
Italy sequenced the viral samples of passengers on two recent flights from China. About half of those on the planes had tested positive, though most weren’t showing symptoms.
It’s also asked other European countries to adopt testing measures, though for now, governments have just said they’re monitoring the situation.
In Germany, the health ministry said it’s seen no evidence of a variant of concern emerging in China compared to what’s already circulating in Germany.
European Union health officials met Thursday to review the China outbreaks.
In a post on Twitter, the EU Health Security Committee said that “coordination of national responses to serious cross border threats to health is crucial.”
–With assistance from Katharina Rosskopf.
(Updates with additional details, EU comment)
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