UK flight ban over Covid-19 new variant
united kingdom travel restrictions
European countries have begun, or are considering, banning travel from the UK to prevent the spread of a more infectious variant of coronavirus.
The Netherlands and Belgium have both suspended flights and trains to Belgium have also been banned.
Italy has indicated the government plans to ban flights and France and Germany are reportedly planning similar action.
The new coronavirus variant has spread fast in London and south-East England, leading to yesterday’s tier 4 restriction announcements and changes in Christmas mixing rules for the rest of the UK.
Boris Johnson speech
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new tier 4 restrictions and the scrapping of the Christmas rules during a press conference, and it has led to outrage as only a few days prior the PM promised the Christmas rules wouldn’t change.
Top health officials said there was no evidence the new variant was more deadly or would react differently to vaccines, but it was proving to be up to 70% more transmissible.
The WHO says the same mutation has also been found in the Neverlands, Denmark and Australia.
The Dutch government said, pending “greater clarity” on the UK’s situation, that further “risk of the new virus strain being introduced to the Netherlands should be minimised as much as possible”.
Adding, it would work with other EU member states in the coming days to “explore the scope for further limiting the risk of the new strain of the virus being brought over from the UK”.
As of 23:00 GMT on Sunday, flights and train arrivals from the UK are suspended. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the ban would be in place for at least 24 hours and “is a precautionary measure”, adding “we will see later if we need additional measures”.
In Italy, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said via Facebook that the government was about to sign a measure to suspend flights from the UK.
Germany is considering banning flights from the UK and South Africa, where the variant has also been detected, according to a health ministry official who spoke to AFP news agency.
The official said the German government was monitoring developments in the UK and working at “high pressure” to evaluate the new information and data regarding the new variant.
According to French news channel BFMTV – France was “seriously” considering banning UK flights and trains, and the government was “looking for European coordination.”
“A decision will be announced during the day,” the channel said
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