France urged its European Union counterparts on Sunday to screen Chinese travelers for COVID, after Paris decided to do so against a backdrop of an outbreak ravaging the country.
Only Italy and Spain also require testing in the EU, which groups 27 countries, as health officials across the bloc failed last week to agree on a joint course.
More conversations will follow this week.
Since Sunday, France requires travelers from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result less than 48 hours before departure and will randomly screen those who arrive.
“France will push for this methodology to be applied across the EU,” Health Minister Francois Braun said as he and Transport Minister Clément Beaune checked the new procedures at Paris’ Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport.
When asked about the fact that a Chinese traveler with COVID could, for the time being, land in another EU country and then travel unchecked to France, Beaune said: “That’s why we need to coordinate (across the EU), to be more efficient.”
Having kept its borders nearly closed for three years, imposing a strict regime of lockdowns and relentless testing, Beijing abruptly changed course to living with the virus on Dec. 7, and infections have spread rapidly in recent weeks.