With rising concern about the increasing spread of coronavirus cases in China, countries around the world are successively imposing new restrictions on arrivals from the Asian country.
On Thursday, Austria and Greece joined the countries that imposed negative corona tests on those coming from China.
Among those countries are the United States, Italy, Malaysia, Spain, Morocco, Qatar, Canada, South Korea and Taiwan.
In this regard, Austrian Minister of Health Johannes Rauch said, in a press statement, that “his country decided to impose a negative corona examination on travelers coming from China with the aim of preventing the spread of potential new viral variants.”
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Rauch pointed out that “the validity period of the tests reaches 48 hours,” noting that they are “necessary to combat the epidemic.”
And the Austrian minister continued, saying that “airline companies will require their customers to present a negative examination of the disease before boarding the plane in China.”
In a similar step, the Greek authorities imposed a negative test for the Corona virus on passengers coming from China.
Local reports showed that in addition to showing negative tests conducted within 48 hours of departure, passengers will be required to use high-protection masks at Greek airports.
This step constitutes a radical change in the position of the Greek authorities, who confirmed last week that they did not intend to impose special restrictions on travelers from China.
A reassessment of the matter is scheduled in Greece on January 19.
This came in conjunction with the European Union Commission’s call for the implementation of the same procedures in a coordinated manner throughout the bloc, in a move that was accepted by the majority of European countries.
Reports indicate that the new Omicron variant, XBB.1.5, is dominant in the United States, but the numbers in Canada are not entirely reliable because provinces have been late in reporting cases due to the holiday season.
On Wednesday, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that it had detected 21 cases of the new Corona variant “XBB.1.5” in the country.
Earlier Thursday, health sources in India revealed that 11 new variants of the Corona virus had been monitored in the country, and had arrived through 124 travelers who had come from different countries.
And the “Times of India” website quoted unnamed sources as saying that the cases that were confirmed to be infected with Corona mutants arrived in India between December 24 and January 3.
In turn, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned, in a press conference held on Wednesday at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, that the threat of the Corona virus still persists, despite the progress made in combating it.
Since the end of last December, media reports revealed an excessive increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus in China, prompting the World Health Organization to declare its concern and to ask the Chinese authorities to reveal the actual numbers of people infected with corona.