MIAMI – Canada has halted UK flights to curb the spread of a new COVID-19 strain, as per a directive in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) by Transport Canada.

The NOTAM states that all flights, whether commercial, private or charter will be suspended indefinitely. Expected to take effect for at least 72 hours, the NOTAM does allow for flights carrying cargo, landing for safety reasons, or making technical stops without disembarking passengers.

According to the Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, the 72-hour restriction could be “extended or enhanced.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in a statement passengers who arrived in Canada Sunday from the UK are now subject to enhanced screening procedures, including greater oversight of their quarantine plans. Passengers who arrived in previous days from the UK can expect guidance from the Canadian government.

British Airways Boeing 777-200ER G-VIIP. Photo: Aaron Davis

Canada Joins Europe in UK Ban

A ban on all UK passenger flights came into effect on Sunday in the Netherlands where at least one case of the same variety that caused London and large parts of south-east England to return to lockdown rules was reported by Dutch health authorities. A German government source then said Berlin was contemplating a similar move as a “serious option” for flights from both Britain and South Africa.

In addition, Belgium and Italy followed suit, banning air travel from Britain due to fear of the latest strain of coronavirus. The Belgium ban was to last initially 24 hours but could be extended. It is not known for how long the Italian ban will be in place.

Furthermore, France was considering banning flights to the UK, an official familiar with the matter said, and lastly, the Irish Government is to announce what restrictions on UK travel are to be put in place in Ireland.

Featured image: Air-Canada-Boeing-737-MAX-8-C-FSCY. Photo. Air Canada