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Italy makes COVID tests obligatory for air passengers from China

Italy became the first Western country Wednesday to make coronavirus tests mandatory for air passengers coming from China, which shifted from its zero-COVID policy as an unprecedented number of people in the Asian nation are being infected daily.

Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said it was "essential to ensure surveillance and detection of possible variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population."

The submission of a negative test will also be obligatory.

One out of every two passengers arriving at Milan Malpensa Airport is COVID-19 positive, according to reports by the ANSA news agency.

Guido Berolaso, a member of the Regional Council for Health and Welfare Affairs of the Lombardy Region, said 35 of 92 passengers on a plane from China to Milan on Dec. 26 were positive, while 62 of 120 passengers on a second flight were positive.

In addition, test points will be reactivated at Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino airports for those from China and whose situation is considered suspicious.

China recently announced it would begin to ease pandemic measures, the last biggest economy to opt for "living with Covid" following three years of lockdowns, closed borders and mandatory quarantine.


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