France extends mandatory COVID tests for Chinese travellers until Feb 15

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FILE PHOTO: Travellers walk with luggages at a terminal hall, during the annual Spring Festival travel rush ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing, China January 18, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

PARIS (Reuters) – France has extended mandatory COVID tests for travellers from China until Feb. 15, a government decree published on Saturday showed.

While Chinese officials have said infections have peaked, some global experts have warned about the possibility of a rise in cases in rural areas less equipped to deal with them as millions of Chinese travel for family reunions during the Lunar New Year holiday.

On Dec. 30, France announced it would require travellers from China to provide a negative COVID-19 test result less than 48 hours before departure as China eased lockdown rules.

The measure, which had been set to last until Jan. 31, imposed tests on all flights from China – including flights with stopovers – and required travellers on airplanes arriving from China to wear masks.

China abandoned its strict “zero COVID” policy in early December after protests against the restrictions, allowing people to travel and the virus to spread rapidly throughout the country.

French daily Le Monde first reported publication of the decree.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by Alison Williams)

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