Dec, 21st 2020 – European nations have begun to impose travel bans on the UK after it reported a more-infectious and ‘out of control’ coronavirus variant. Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all halting flights.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a new tier four level of restrictions scrapping off a planned relaxation of rules over the Christmas period for millions of people. According to Health secretary Matt Hancock, “The new strain is out of control. We have got to get it under control.”
Netherlands also said that it would ban all passenger flights from the UK until 1st of January. Later on, it announced that it would also ferry passengers arriving from the UK, although freight would continue.
Netherlands reported a daily increase of more than 13,000 cases despite the tough lockdown measures being applied on the 14th of December.
An order from the Ministry of Transport in Germany said that planes from the UK would not be allowed to land after Sunday midnight with the exception of cargo. Jens Spahn, the Health Minister said that the UK variant has not yet been detected in Germany.
Flights and trains arriving from the UK from midnight have been suspended in Belgium for at least 24 hours as a precautionary measure.
Italy on the other hand has blocked all flights from the UK until the 6th of January. According to the health Ministry, the first case of the UK variant has been detected in Italy and the patient has been placed in isolation in Rome.
A European Union meeting to be held today will discuss a more coordinated response on this issue. Health officials have said that 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.