Half of passengers on 2 flights from China had COVID


Nearly half of passengers on two separate flights this week from China to Milan have tested positive for COVID, and now health officials in Italy have announced they will test all travelers from that country from East Asia.

The two sick passenger flights arrived at Malpensa Airport on Monday from China, Bloomberg reported.

On the first flight, 35 out of 92 passengers tested positive for the virus, while on the second flight, 62 out of 120 passengers were infected, according to Lombardy region health chief Guido Bertolaso.

Passengers who tested positive have been isolated and authorities have stepped up contact tracing efforts.

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci announced on Wednesday that tests would be required « for all passengers arriving from China and transiting through Italy ».

Officials say the measure will be key to preventing the spread of new variants of the virus.

Nearly half of passengers arriving in Italy from China on Monday tested positive for COVID.
AFP via Getty Images

“The measure is essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variant of the virus in order to protect the Italian population,” Schillaci said, adding that further details on the plan will be provided later.

Schillaci’s announcement follows the reversal of China’s strict « zero-COVID » policies earlier this month. The sudden change sparked China’s biggest outbreak of COVID infections since the pandemic began and left hospitals overwhelmed, pushing back ambulances and unable to treat some critical patients.

Some 37 million people may have contracted COVID-19 in China on December 20 alone, and as many as 248 million people – nearly 18% of China’s population – contracted the virus in the first 20 days of December.

US officials are considering taking additional measures for travelers from China, given the lack of data related to the virus from the Chinese government.

Eastern China Airplane
US officials are reportedly considering implementing travel restrictions for people entering the country from China.

« The international community is increasingly concerned about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in China and the lack of transparent data, including viral genomic sequence data, reported by the PRC, » officials said Tuesday, who requested anonymity. .

“Without this data, it becomes increasingly difficult for public health officials to ensure that they will be able to identify potential new variants and take prompt action to reduce the spread,” said officials, as Bloomberg first reported.

« The United States is following science and the advice of public health experts, consulting with partners, and considering similar actions we can take to protect the American people. »

Officials pointed to recent measures implemented by other countries, such as Japan, India and Malaysia, for travelers from China.


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