A corona wave of unknown proportions is rolling through China. Several countries are introducing a test requirement for travelers from the People's Republic. Health Minister Lauterbach sees this as “not yet necessary” for Germany. However, there should be "variant monitoring" at Europe's airports.
Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach currently considers mandatory tests when entering China from China to be "not yet necessary". As a central measure, however, close "variant monitoring" is being prepared at European airports, said the SPD politician. "In addition, I think it is very important that Europe reacts in a coordinated manner," said Lauterbach.
Spain and Italy have already introduced or announced entry restrictions for travelers from China. The EU is also considering further measures. Consultations on this took place on Thursday at EU level. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides then called on the states to review their national surveillance measures for the virus and, if necessary, to ramp them up again. A crisis meeting on how to proceed is expected to take place next week.
Lauterbach said that at this point in time, a threat from new variants is not to be expected. So far, already known variants have appeared. He would "discuss the matter very intensively" with the French Minister of Health. "We need very precise "variant monitoring" because we cannot reliably retrieve this variant monitoring from China," said the minister. "The targeted review of individual flight sequences, for example, could also play a role here, which is being prepared." But there is no reason for an "antigen test on a routine basis".
Meanwhile, Bavaria is putting pressure on the federal government to coordinate with the federal states in a timely manner about possible requirements for travelers from China. "The very high number of new infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus reported from China, in conjunction with the lifting of isolation measures and travel restrictions, harbors the risk of new virus variants emerging and spreading uncontrollably," said Bavaria's Health Minister Klaus Holetschek from the CSU . In a letter, he asked Lauterbach to put this topic on the agenda at the meeting of the federal-state group for hospital reform on January 5.
At the beginning of December, under pressure from anti-government protests and a flagging economy, China announced an abrupt departure from its strict zero-Covid policy. Since then, a massive corona wave has been rolling through the country. According to employees, hospitals and funeral homes are under enormous pressure because of the rush. Long queues formed in front of hospitals and crematoria. However, since there is hardly any testing anymore, this is not reflected in the official figures.