BEIJING – Both France and Germany have announced to terminate the requirement of mandatory PCR testing for travelers coming from China as the Covid restrictions are finally being lifted.
The French Embassy in Beijing stated that such a decision was taken after evaluating the current Coronavirus situation and coming to the conclusion that the number of infections has significantly dropped.
“Travellers from China to France are no longer required to present the result of a negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours or fill a health declaration form. Random screenings on arrival are also abolished,” read a statement from the French embassy.
France decided to introduce a mandatory test requirement taken 48 hours before departure for all travellers from China over the age of 11 in January. The fresh announcement comes after a meeting of EU health experts held in which they reviewed the current situation in China and concluded that the situation allows the gradual removal of the restrictions.
Despite the move, Swedish Presidency of the EU Council said that the EU would continue to keep an eye on the Coronavirus developments in China and take actions accordingly.
“Member States agree to phase out the requirement for a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test for travelers from China to Member States by the end of February,” the statement of the Council reads implying that other EU countries who continue to keep COVID restrictions in place will drop them soon.
Besides, the Council further highlighted that the member states have also agreed to gradually remove random testing of travellers from China by the middle of March.
Not only France, Germany has also announced that travelers from China will no longer be required to take a mandatory pre-arrival COVID test when landing in the country.
The German government said that China is no longer placed on the so-called virus variant list, emphasizing that arrivals from this country do not present a risk to public health.
“Anyone entering Germany from China no longer has to present a rapid antigen test before departure. Since February 22, China has no longer been considered a virus variant area where a virus variant of concern is threatening to emerge,” the statement of the German government reads.
The authorities in Germany have also clarified that apart from ending the pre-arrival testing requirement, random tests after arrival in Germany are also no longer necessary.
Although the countries have started easing restrictions for China, if the COVID-19 situation starts to deteriorate, the EU will reintroduce entry rules, including the requirement to undergo a mandatory test.
World Health Organization’s data depicts that China has recorded 126,414 new COVID-19 infection cases in the last seven days while 449 people died during the same period.
China had relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year. Recently, it also resumes issuance of all categories of visas to foreigners.
A statement from the China’s embassy in the US read that the decision is made to further facilitate cross-border travel and will also allow visa-free entry into Guangdong province resumed for foreigners in groups from Hong Kong and Macau, and for those on cruise ships stopping in Shanghai.
Beijing will now permit tourism visa, port visa, and multiple visa-exemption policies as it has moved away from its Covid-zero policy which was marked by frequent lockdowns, social distancing and shutting borders which hampered the country’s economic growth. The move comes weeks after China ended mandatory quarantine for inbound travelers.