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Belgium to Test Wastewater on Airliners From COVID-hit China


FILE - A passenger checks her phone as an Air China passenger jet taxis past at Beijing Capital International Airport, in Beijing, Oct. 29, 2022.
FILE - A passenger checks her phone as an Air China passenger jet taxis past at Beijing Capital International Airport, in Beijing, Oct. 29, 2022.

Belgium will test wastewater from planes arriving from China for new COVID variants as part of new steps against the spread of the coronavirus as infections in China surge, the government announced Monday.

"This will be an additional monitoring objective to verify that the data we receive from China is accurate," Steven Van Gucht of the Sciensano national public health institute told Reuters.

He said Belgium was aware that some COVID-infected passengers might not use the toilet during their flights, and therefore the new measure was "not meant to track people but to track independently what is happening in China."

Belgium is also asking travelers from China to test themselves for COVID-19 if they show symptoms seven days after arriving but will not enforce this measure.

At a news conference announcing the new measures, Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that a European Union-wide policy was needed towards China's COVID surge.

EU health officials will hold talks Wednesday on a coordinated response.

Authorities around the world are imposing or considering curbs on travelers from China, including mandatory testing for COVID, as infections there spread following Beijing's relaxation of "zero-COVID" rules.

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    Reuters

    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.

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