Holiday warning as WHO calls for Covid rules to be brought back on flights | The Sun

PASSENGERS have been warned that some Covid regulations could be brought back on some flights after a recommendation from the World Health Order.

The new recommendation comes amid the presence of the XBB.1.5 subvariant of Covid, which has been detected in "small but growing numbers" in Europe.

WHO and Europe officials told a press briefing that countries should recommend that passengers on long haul flights wear masks once again.

Passengers have also been told they should wear the face coverings when travelling from an area with increasingly high numbers of Covid.

WHO's senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, said: "This should be a recommendation issued to passengers arriving from anywhere where there is widespread Covid-19 transmission".

America is one of the countries of concern, with the new subvariant accounting for 27.6% of Covid cases in the US last week.

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While experts say that vaccines continue to minimise both hospitalisations and death, the subvariant could cause a new wave of infections.

Should they rise further, testing could also be recommended, although it isn't at this stage.

Ms Smallwood added: "Countries need to look at the evidence base for pre-departure testing" and said that if testing is needed it should be "implemented in a non-discriminatory manner".

However, travellers from China look as if they will have to have more stringent measures on them for the time being, after it reversed its zero-Covid policy.

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Since then, the country has seen a huge rise in cases as people begin to live without major restrictions for the first time since 2020.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Tuesday issued recommendations for flights between China and the European Union.

They included "non-pharmaceutical measures to reduce the spread of the virus, such as mask-wearing and testing of travellers, as well as monitoring of waste water as an early warning tool to detect new variants."

The agencies recommend "random testing may also be carried out on a sample of arriving passengers" and "enhanced cleaning and disinfection of aircraft serving these routes."

Last week, the EU's Integrated Political Crisis Response group (IPCR), also recommended all passengers on flights to and from China should wear face masks and random testing of passengers arriving from China.

Passengers arriving in the UK from China must also have a negative Covid test before travelling.

The Government said that airlines will be required to check that passengers from China have a negative test before departure and travellers must show their proof.

However, travellers from China won't have to isolate when they arrive in the UK, even if they test positive.

Passengers arriving at Spanish airports from China will now also be screened for Covid.

All arrivals will also need to have a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination.

The measure will remain in place until at least February 15, Spain's health ministry said in a statement, with travellers arriving from China required to undergo a temperature check and a Covid-19 test.

"A major concern lies in the possibility of new variants appearing in China that have not been controlled," Spanish health minister Carolina Darias told a press conference.

"Given the health situation in that country, we know the importance of acting with coordination, but also the importance of acting quickly."

Meanwhile, Thailand has reintroduced Covid measures for all visitors.

Italy is also screening passengers, after one flight from China to Italy was found to have more than half of the passengers having Covid.


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