NewsLocalHealth Ministry issues directive for travelers to and from China

Health Ministry issues directive for travelers to and from China

The Health Ministry on Thursday issued a list with directives for people travelling to and from China.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in China is currently very high, although reliable data is not available. Several countries are taking travel-related measures, such as random testing at airports or requesting a negative COVID-19 test or a vaccination certificate,” a Health Ministry announcement said.

Directives and recommendations to EU/EEA travellers travelling to China

  • Travellers are urged to exercise caution if travelling to any regions globally that are experiencing high rates of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, as this could increase the risk of infection, and additionally could hinder access to healthcare services abroad should the need arise. Travellers should check that their health insurance provides full coverage in the destination country.
  • Prior to departure, all travellers should ensure that they have received the full course of COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, and are generally up to date with all vaccines in accordance to their national vaccination programmes.
  • During travel, medical face masks are among the most efficient means to prevent the transmission of SARS-COV-2. As such, the wearing of masks should be considered in crowded indoor and outdoor settings, including during air travel.
  • It is recommended that vulnerable passengers continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask, which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask. People with respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) are strongly recommended to wear a medical face mask irrespective of the requirements on that particular flight.
  • All citizens generally, should be encouraged to stay home when ill; practice good hand and respiratory hygiene, including appropriate use of face masks; and minimise exposure to crowded public spaces, including public transportation, particularly for vulnerable persons, to reduce the spread of and exposure to respiratory viruses.

Directives and recommendations to travellers travelling to the EU/EEA from China

  • All travellers should be aware of entry requirements at transfer and destination airports, such as whether the provision of COVID-19 test results or documentation of vaccination status is required.
  • Travellers should be made aware that in some EU/EEA countries there are severe pressures on health systems currently due to several infectious disease outbreaks, and that this may have an impact on availability of care for both citizens and travellers visiting the EU/EEA.
    During travel, medical face masks are among the most efficient means to prevent the transmission of SARS-COV-2. As such, the wearing of masks should be considered in crowded indoor and outdoor settings, including during air travel.
  • Vulnerable passengers are urged to continue to wear a face mask regardless of the regulations, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask. People with respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) are strongly recommended to wear a medical face mask irrespective of the requirements on that particular flight.
  • Due to ongoing high levels of circulation of respiratory viruses in the EU/EEA, including RSV, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, all travellers coming to Europe, and all citizens generally, should be encouraged to stay home when ill; practice good hand and respiratory hygiene, including appropriate use of face masks; and minimise exposure to crowded public spaces, including public transportation, particularly for vulnerable persons, to reduce the spread of and exposure to respiratory viruses.

Directives and recommendations to airport and airline staff regarding self-protection

ECDC and EASA have published the COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol, and its annex, as well as the guidance in this document remains valid and should be applied by EU/EEA countries in a risk based approach. As concerns staff self-protection, ECDC reiterates the following concerning vaccination and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Vaccination

Aircraft and airport operators, either individually or via their representation bodies, and in coordination with the relevant public health authorities, should continue to inform their staff members of the advantages of COVID-19 vaccination, especially the high effectiveness in preventing severe infection and death.

Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 reduces the risk for them, for their family members and for the people traveling who, for health reasons, may not be able to receive the vaccine or have deficient immune response. Where the national legal framework allows, operators could also consider developing a strategy for vaccination for all eligible staff members

PPE (personal protective equipment)

  • Airport operators, aircraft operators and service providers/suppliers should provide the necessary PPE to their staff members and ensure that they are trained in its appropriate use:
  • Staff members who interact with passengers directly (e.g. cabin crew members, security check agents, assistants for passengers with reduced mobility, cleaning staff, etc.) should be encouraged to properly wear a medical face mask or, where available and the legal framework permits, a higher-standard face mask (e.g. FFP2/N95/KN95 respirators).
  • Staff should be encouraged to practise respiratory hygiene at all times as well as frequent hand hygiene, either by appropriate hand-washing or by applying an alcohol-based hand disinfectant. The use of a protective gown or a one-use plastic apron can be considered for tasks that may expose staff to splashes.
  • Flight crew members should be encouraged to wear a face mask whenever interacting with, or in the proximity of, other people. Once they are in the flight compartment and the door is closed, flight crew members may remove their masks subject to their operator’s policy and mutual agreement [note: this recommendation could temporarily be reconsidered]. Furthermore, the flight’s crew members should remove their masks for emergency situations and whenever requested by appropriate authorities for official purposes such as identification or alcohol testing.
  • Aircraft operators should have on board one or more Universal Precaution Kits (UPKs). Such kits should be used by crew members who are assisting passengers with COVID-19-compatible symptoms and in cleaning up and correctly discarding any potentially infectious contents.

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