MIAMI – European countries ban flights to/from the UK on Sunday as 10 Downing Street warns that a potent new strain of the virus is out of control.
A ban on all UK passenger flights came into effect today 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.
The prohibition in the Netherlands came into effect at 6 am this morning and will last until January 1, 2021. On the heels of the Dutch, a German government source said Berlin was now contemplating a similar move as a “serious option” for flights from both Britain and South Africa.
In addition, Belgium and Italy have followed suit and banned air travel from Britain due to fear of the latest strain of coronavirus. The Belgium ban will initially last 24 hours but could be extended as scientific consultations are ongoing and “should it appear that we have more conclusive data,” according to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. It is not known for how long the Italy ban will be in place.
Furthermore, France is considering banning flights to the UK, an official familiar with the matter said. As of now, there is no decision taken and France is going to coordinate with the EU. Lastly, the Irish Government is set to announce this afternoon what restrictions on UK travel are to be put in place in Ireland.
A New COVID-19 Strain on the Lose
UK scientists seem to have first discovered the latest variant back in September. Susan Hopkins of England Public Health told Sky News the agency had informed the government on Friday after modeling showed the full severity of the latest strain.
The information was publicly known on Saturday, and in reaction to the new strain of coronavirus, found up to 70% more transmissible than the initial strains, according to Hopkins, Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared new lockdown restrictions in London and southeast England.
In total, approximately one-third of British people are to be locked in at Christmas as UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock cautions that the new virus strain is “out of control,” advising that million British people should cancel their Christmas plans and stay home.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed it was in close contact with the UK regarding the latest mutation of the virus and exchanged information regarding research findings on the new disease outbreak.
Last week, Europe became the world’s leading region with a death rate of 500,000 since the onset of the pandemic one year ago, which has killed over 1,6 million in the world and caused turmoil to the world economy. In an attempt to reign in the virus, countries are once again shutting down their economies.