Italian health officials said Wednesday that nearly half of the passengers on two recent flights from China to Milan had tested positive for COVID-19.
About 38% of passengers on one flight to Milan’s Malpensa airport tested positive for COVID-19, and about 52% of passengers on the second flight tested positive, according to local authorities in Italy’s Lombardy region. did.
Italy will begin testing all new arrivals from China and will cycle testing for new variants amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in China, Italy’s health minister said Wednesday.
“This measure is essential to ensure the surveillance and detection of possible subspecies of the virus in order to protect the Italian population,” said Italy’s Minister of Health Oraggio Schiracci.
Several other countries, including Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia, have already enacted similar requirements, and U.S. officials are considering following suit, according to CBS News.
China is facing a surge in cases that have reportedly overwhelmed hospitals after pulling back on its draconian “No COVID” policy this month following a series of mass protests.
Official figures remain low, but internal estimates suggest that nearly 250 million people may have contracted COVID-19 in the first 20 days of the month, the Financial Times reported last week. .