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COVID-19

EU imposes entry ban for 30 days in bid to slow coronavirus pandemic

The European Union will impose an entry ban on travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days to battle the spread of the coronavirus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.

EU imposes entry ban for 30 days in bid to slow coronavirus pandemic
There are already checks at some internal EU borders, such as this one between Poland and Germany. Photo: DPA

Member states “agreed to impose an entry ban” into the bloc, with only nationals of EFTA countries and Britain exempt from the restriction, said Merkel.

“That should apply for 30 days. Germany will implement it immediately,” added the leader of Europe's biggest economy.

Special exceptions will be made for European citizens and residents coming home, although it's expected that some countries will ask them to self-isolate for two weeks.

With countries severely curtailing travel to prevent COVID-19 contagion, Germany had earlier issued a warning against travel worldwide.

The bloc is taking “coordinated action to bring back stranded travellers,” said Merkel.

“The union and its member states will do whatever it takes,” said European Council President Charles Michel.

Earlier, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that thousands of Germans were stranded abroad as airlines slashed flights and borders closed.

Several controls on internal borders within the EU have already been introduced in a bid to stall the virus spread.

On Monday Germany introduced tighter border controls with five countries, including France and Denmark.

READ ALSO: Drivers turned back as Germany partially closes borders to fight coronavirus

 

Member comments

  1. Whats the use of this when the virus is spread almost every country in the Europe. This has to be taken care even before its entry. Now there is no point of closing the borders. Dumb EU

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HEALTH

‘Forever chemical’ PFAS found in organic eggs in Denmark

Most Danish egg producers said on Monday they would no longer use fish meal in feed for organic hens after the pollutant chemical PFAS was detected in eggs.

‘Forever chemical’ PFAS found in organic eggs in Denmark

Danske Æg, an industry organisation representing around 90 percent of producers in the country, said in a statement that fish meal would no longer be used as a result of the discovery.

“In consideration of food safety we have stopped using fish meal,” Danske Æg sector director Jørgen Nyberg Larsen said in the statement.

A study conducted by the DTU National Food Institute (DTU Fødevareinstituttet) and the Danish Veterinary and Food Association (Fødevarestyrelsen) found a high PFAS content in egg yolks from hen farms across Denmark.

The chemical was transferred to the eggs from fish meal, which is used in feed for the hens, the study concluded.

“We take the situation very seriously because food safety is crucial for all of us. We are therefore no removing fish meal from organic eggs and putting all our efforts towards better understanding the situation,” Larsen said. 

What are PFAS? 

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large group of synthetic chemicals used in various products since the early 1950s. Their past uses include foam in fire extinguishers, food packaging and in textiles, carpets and paints. Also known as ‘forever chemicals’, they persist in water and soil and can cause harm to human health. 

Due to their chemical properties, they take a long time to break down and can be found in very low concentrations in blood samples from populations all over the world.

They are, however, unwanted in the environment because they have been found to have concerning links to health complications. Their use in materials which come into contact with foods, like paper and card, has been banned in Denmark since 2020.

PFAS have been linked to a series of health complications and, if ingested in high enough amounts, are suspected of causing liver damage, kidney damage, elevated cholesterol levels, reduced fertility, hormonal disturbances, weaker immune systems, negatively affecting foetal development and being carcinogenic.

READ ALSO: PFAS pollution: What do people living in Denmark need to know?

DTU National Food Institute said that the issue with the chemical making its way into eggs can be solved by changing the feed given to hens.

“We are already in close dialogue with the animal feed industry and work is ongoing on measures that will eliminate the problem. We note that DTU also has suggested solutions and we will naturally look at those,” Larsen said.

“But right now, we are putting a stop to fish meal so that consumers can also feel comfortable with organic eggs in the short term. After that, we can naturally look at a permanent fix,” he said.

Supermarket company Coop said on Monday that it had no plans to remove organic eggs from its shelves as a result of the detection of PFAS.

The company, which owns the SuperBrugsen, Irma and Kvickly grocery store chains, told news wire Ritzau it had been in contact with its suppliers of organic eggs to confirm that the level of PFAS in the eggs does not exceed the permitted amount.

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