“There is minimal public health risk in New Zealand,” COVID-19 Minister Ayesha Verrall said of visitors from China.

The New Zealand government said it will not require travelers from China to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival, countering a trend where a number of countries have implemented testing measures as COVID cases rise in China.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 minister, Ayesha Verrall, said in a statement Wednesday that a public health risk assessment had concluded that visitors from China would not contribute significantly to the number of cases in the country.

“There is minimal public health risk in New Zealand,” the minister said.

“Officials have conducted a public health risk assessment, including going through scenarios of possible numbers of cases among travelers from China. This confirmed that these visitors will not contribute significantly to the number of COVID cases, meaning that access restrictions are not required or justified,” the minister said.

Officials will ask some travelers from China to take voluntary tests to gather more information, which Verrall said reflected New Zealand’s concerns alongside that of the World Health Organization (WHO) on China’s lack of information sharing.

New Zealand also plans to test wastewater on international flights to see if it can replace targeted and voluntary testing of individuals.

A number of countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, are requiring travelers from China to present a negative COVID test due to concerns about the size of the country’s outbreak and skepticism about Beijing’s health statistics.

China has criticize these moves as discriminatory.

Health officials from the 27-member European Union meet on Wednesday building a coordinated response about the implications of more travel from China.

Most EU countries advocate pre-departure COVID testing for travelers from China, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

China, which has been largely cut off from the world since the pandemic began in late 2019, will no longer require quarantine incoming travelers from January 8. But it will still require arriving passengers to be tested before starting their journey.

Meanwhile, WHO officials met with Chinese scientists on Tuesday, after inviting them to present detailed viral sequencing data ahead of the meeting and share data on hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations.

The WHO will communicate the outcome of that meeting later, probably at a press conference on Wednesday. A spokesperson previously said the agency expected a “detailed discussion” about circulating variants in China and globally.

The number of infections in China has risen after the country dropped its strict zero-COVID policy on December 7.

All international arrivals in New Zealand are being asked to test if they become symptomatic, with the country offering free testing at the airport.

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