Milan Reports 50% of Passengers on China Flights Have Covid

American Age Official

(Bloomberg) — Italian health authorities will begin testing all arrivals from China for Covid after almost half of the passengers on two flights to Milan were found to have the virus.

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The country is now sequencing those tests to see if there are new variants coming from China, the Health Ministry said in a statement. If a new strain is found, officials may impose stricter curbs on travel from China.

China has seen outbreaks of the virus since the government there abandoned its strict zero-Covid policies. Uncertainty over the scale of the spread has prompted many countries to consider new restrictions on entry from the country.

In Germany, health authorities are “closely watching” the situation in China, according to Health Ministry spokesman Sebastian Guelde.

“We have no indication that a more dangerous mutation has developed in China that would give rise to a declaration of a virus variant area, which would result in corresponding travel restrictions,” he added.

Milan’s regional health chief said at a press conference Wednesday that airport authorities tested passengers who arrived on two flights, one from Beijing and one from Shanghai.

While the high rate of passengers with the virus has put authorities on alert, one factor in Italy’s favor is its high vaccination rate. More than 80% of people are fully inoculated, according to the Word Health Organization, and many have also received booster shots. It’s a similar story across much of Western Europe.

–With assistance from Kamil Kowalcze and Alonso Soto.

(Updates with additional details, comments from Germany)

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