Countries are banning flights from the UK to protect their citizens from the new variant of fast-spreading coronavirus

  • Fears around a new variant of COVID-19 have prompted multiple countries to cancel flights from the UK.
  • The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Italy, and Israel have closed their borders to UK visitors.
  • Eurostar has canceled all journeys between London, Brussels, and Amsterdam.
  • Ireland and Germany are reportedly considering following suit.
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Multiple countries have announced that they will be closing their borders to the UK over fears of a fast-spreading variant of COVID-19.

The mutant coronavirus is believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain. In order to stop its spread, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that London and surrounding areas would suddenly be plunged into lockdown.

Dutch authorities confirmed at least one case of this COVID-19 variant had reached the Netherlands. Consequently, it was announced that flights carrying passengers from the UK would be banned until January 1, 2021.

Belgium followed suit. The country brought in a 24-hour ban on all UK entrants, starting midnight on Sunday.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told Belgian broadcaster VRT: "Of course, that could be extended should it appear that we have more conclusive data." 

Eurostar has since suspended all trains between London, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

On Sunday afternoon, Italian foreign minister Luigi di Maio said that the government would be suspending all travel from the UK.

He wrote on Twitter: "As a government, we have the duty to protect Italians. For this reason, after having notified the English government… we are about to sign an order to suspend flights with Great Britain."

Shortly after, the Austrian government confirmed that air travel to and from the UK will be prohibited.

The Israeli government has also banned entry to all non-Israelis flying from the UK. 

Earlier today, Israeli police escorted UK travelers to isolation at state-operated hotels.

 

At least two other countries are considering closing their borders to the UK.

Germany is reportedly considering suspending UK flights, a government source told AFP.

The Irish government is expected to impose travel restrictions on flights and ferries from the UK, according to Sky News.

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