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Instructions and recommendations of the Ministry of Health to those traveling to and from China

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ΟδηγΙες και σ&upsilon ;στασεις Υπ. ΥγεΙας προς ιδεyουν προς και απo την Κiνα

The number of COVID-19 cases in China is currently very high, with accurate data not available, and several countries are taking travel restrictions such as spot testing in airports or showing a negative result in a COVID-19 disease test or vaccination certificate.

The European Commission is making recommendations to EU/EEA travelers to China and travelers entering the EU/EEA from China. It also reminds airport and airline staff of personal protection guidelines published by ECDC (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control) and EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency).

< b>Guidance and advice for EU/EEA travelers wishing to travel to China:

  • Travellers are urged to exercise caution if traveling to any area around the world with high transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2, as this could increase the risk of infection and furthermore could make it difficult to access healthcare services abroad if the need arises. Travelers are advised to confirm that their health insurance provides full coverage in the destination country.
  • Before departure, all travelers are urged to ensure that they have received the full COVID-19 vaccination regimen, including booster doses, and that they have received, in general, all vaccinations in accordance with their national vaccination schedules.
  • During travel, medical face masks are among the most effective means of preventing the transmission of SARS-COV-2. It is therefore recommended that mask use be considered in crowded indoor and outdoor areas, including during air travel.
  • Vulnerable passengers are advised to continue wearing a face mask regardless of the rules; ideally a mask type FFP2/N95/KN95 which provides a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask. Individuals with respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) are strongly advised to wear a medical face mask regardless of flight-specific requirements.
  • All citizens are generally advised to be encouraged to stay at home in case of illness, practice good hand and respiratory hygiene practices, including the appropriate use of a face mask, and minimize exposure in crowded public places, including on public transportation, in particular with regard to vulnerable people, in order to reduce the spread and exposure to respiratory viruses.

Guidance and recommendations to travelers entering the EU/EEA from China:

  • All travelers need to be aware of the entry requirements at transit airports and destination, such as if required to provide test results for COVID-19 or documentation of vaccination status.
  • Travelers be advised that in some EU/EEA countries there are currently severe strains on health systems due to various outbreaks of infectious diseases, and how this may impact on the availability of care, both for citizens and travelers who are visiting the EU/EEA.
  • During travel, medical face masks are among the most effective means of preventing the transmission of SARS-COV-2. Therefore, it is recommended that mask use be considered in crowded indoor and outdoor areas, including during air travel.
  • Vulnerable passengers are encouraged to continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules; ideally a mask type FFP2/N95/KN95 which provides a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask. Individuals with respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) are strongly advised to wear a medical face mask regardless of flight-specific requirements.
  • Due to the continued high levels of circulation of respiratory viruses in the EU/EEA, including RSV, SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, all travelers coming to Europe and all citizens are encouraged to stay at home in case of illness , practice good hand and respiratory hygiene practices, including the appropriate use of a face mask, and minimize exposure in crowded public places, including public transport, especially for vulnerable people, to reduce spread as well as of exposure to respiratory system viruses.

Instructions and recommendations for airport and airline personnel regarding personal protection:

ECDC and EASA have published the COVID-19 Protocol on Aviation Health Security, as well as its annex https://www.easa.europa.eu/en/downloads/137460/en  and the guidance contained therein in this document are still valid and are recommended to be applied by EU/EEA countries in a risk-based approach. Regarding personal protection of personnel, the ECDC reiterates the following regarding vaccination and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Vaccination

Aircraft and airport operators, either individually or through their representative bodies, and in coordination with the relevant public health authorities, are urged to continue to inform their staff members about the benefits of vaccination against the disease COVID-19, in particular the high effectiveness in preventing serious infection and death. Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 reduces the risk to themselves, their family members and travelers who, for health reasons, may not be able to be vaccinated or have an insufficient immune response . Where permitted by the national legal framework, business managers could also consider developing a vaccination strategy for all eligible staff.

PPE (personal protective equipment)< /p>

Airport operators, aircraft operators and service providers/suppliers are urged to provide the necessary PPE to their staff and ensure that they are trained in their proper use:

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  • Staff members who come into direct contact with passengers (e.g. flight attendants, security screening officers, assistants to passengers with reduced mobility, cleaning staff, etc.) are recommended to be encouraged to wear a medical face mask as appropriate or, if available, the legal framework allows, face masks of higher specifications (eg FFP2/N95/KN95 respiratory protection masks).
  • Staff should be encouraged to maintain respiratory hygiene at all times, as well as the regular application of hand hygiene measures, either by appropriate washing or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. For work where personnel may be exposed to splashing liquids, the use of a protective apron or disposable plastic apron may be considered.
  • Crew members are urged to be encouraged to wear a face mask whenever they are in contact with or around other people. Once in the cockpit and the door is closed, crew members may remove their masks subject to carrier policy and mutual agreement [note: this recommendation could be temporarily revised]. In addition, crew members are encouraged to remove their masks in emergency situations and whenever required by competent authorities for official purposes such as identification or breathalyzer testing.
  • Aircraft operators are advised to have of the aircraft one or more Universal Precaution Kits (UPK.  The Universal Precaution Kit provides protection against blood-borne pathogens or other potentially body-fluid-borne pathogens). These boxes are encouraged to be used by crew members assisting passengers with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, as well as for the cleaning and proper disposal of any potentially infectious contents.
  • Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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