The EU's disease agency has said the screening of travellers from China for Covid-19 would be "unjustified".

On Thursday, Italy urged the rest of the EU to follow its lead and ensure Chinese arrivals were tested, and quarantined if necessary.

The US, Japan, Taiwan and India also recently announced mandatory testing, as China deals with a Covid surge.

But the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said the surge was "not expected to impact" the EU.

In a statement, the ECDC said:
High levels of Covid in China are anticipated given the country's low immunity and recent relaxation of its rules

But higher immunity in the EU means a Covid surge in China is not expected to impact the bloc

The Covid-19 variants circulating in China are already circulating in the EU

Potential imported infections from China are "rather low" compared to the number of infections already occurring in the EU

And citizens in the bloc have relatively high vaccination and immunisation

Main concern
Concerns were raised after Chinese authorities decided to let people travel more freely from 8 January, after almost three years of largely-closed borders.

EU health officials held talks in Brussels on Thursday to co-ordinate any response. The ECDC added: "We remain vigilant and will be ready to use the emergency brake if necessary."

The EU can issue recommendations, but each nation is free to make their own policies, like Italy.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said her country's efforts to curb Covid-19 transmissions from China would be undermined if other EU countries did not follow suit.

In the UK, a minister said the issue was "under review".

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said testing visitors from China, Hong Kong and Macau was needed "to help slow the spread of the virus as we work to identify... any potential new variants that may emerge".

China's National Health Commission published its most recent daily Covid data on 24 December, registering 4,128 new cases the day before.

But analysts say such numbers are a vast underestimate - and the daily case load may be closer to a million.

On Thursday, British health data firm Airfinity said 9,000 people in China could be dying from Covid-19 each day - almost double its previous daily estimate.

Despite the official numbers being low, the World Health Organization has warned the healthcare system in China could be under severe pressure.

As Covid surges in China, some nearby countries have moved swiftly to announce restrictions.

In India, people travelling from China and four other Asian countries must produce a negative Covid test before arriving, with those who test positive put in quarantine

In Japan, from Friday, travellers from China will be tested for Covid upon arrival. Those who test positive will have to quarantine for up to seven days

Malaysia has put additional tracking and surveillance measures in place

Meanwhile Taiwan has said people arriving from China, by air or sea, will have to take Covid tests on arrival throughout January

China Coronavirus Covid Europe Outbreak Pandemic