Nearly half of the passengers on two separate flights from China to Milan tested positive for COVID, and health officials in Italy have announced they will test all travelers coming from the East Asian country. The world must protect itself from China again.
The two flights of sick passengers arrived at Malpensa Airport from China, Bloomberg reported. On the first flight, 35 out of 92 passengers tested positive for the virus, while on the second, 62 passengers out of 120 were infected, according to Lombardy region’s health chief Guido Bertolaso. The passengers who tested positive have been isolated, and officials have ramped up their contact tracing efforts.
Italy’s Health Minister Orazio Schillaci announced that tests would be required “for all passengers from China and in transit through Italy.” “The measure is essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population,” Schillaci said, adding that further details of the plan will be provided later.
Schillaci’s announcement follows the reversal of China’s strict “zero-COVID”. The sudden change has spurred China’s largest outbreak of COVID infections since the start of the pandemic and left hospitals swamped, turning away ambulances and unable to care for some critical patients. Some 37 million people may have contracted COVID-19 in China on Dec. 20 alone, and as many as 248 million people — nearly 18% of China’s population — came down with the virus.