The authorities of the United Kingdom and the European Union will meet on monday after a number of countries announced new travel restrictions to the British Isles after detecting a rapidly spreading mutation of the coronavirus in south-east England.
While other European countries continue to deliberate on the introduction of similar measures, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Bulgaria, Finland and Denmark They are among the countries that have announced bans of varying lengths.
Canada, Morocco and Turkey they have also now banned flights from the UK.
The UK government is particularly concerned about the measures taken by France, which said the movement of goods, “by road, air, sea or rail” would be included in its current 48-hour ban.
“Therefore, only the carriage of unaccompanied goods will be authorized. The flow of people or transport to the UK will not be affected,” the French government said in a statement.
French officials said the pause would buy time to find a “common doctrine” on how to deal with the threat, but that it threw into chaos the busy route across the English Channel, used by thousands of trucks to day.
The Port of Dover tweeted Sunday night that its ferry terminal was “closed to all escorted traffic leaving the UK until further notice due to border restrictions in France.”
Eurostar passenger trains from London to Paris, Lille, Brussels and Amsterdam have also been canceled on Monday and Tuesday in hopes of resuming service from Wednesday.
European countries that prohibit entry to the United Kingdom
Germany it will suspend “from midnight” on Sunday all its air links with the United Kingdom, the Health Minister announced.
Jens Spahn told the ARD television channel that British and South African citizens will be banned from entry by sea, rail or road from Monday.
The prohibition of France It went into effect from midnight on Sunday for 48 hours, affecting all passenger travel from the UK.
The prime minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo said on Sunday that he issued the order for 24 hours starting at midnight “as a precaution”, and that train travel from the UK would be included in the ban.
“There are many questions about this new mutation and whether it is already on the continent,” he said. He added that he hoped to have more clarity from Tuesday.
In NetherlandsThe ban, from 6am CET on Sunday to January 1, came hours after the UK issued stricter restrictions to curb the new variant.
“An infectious mutation of the COVID-19 virus is circulating in the UK. It is said to spread more easily and faster and is more difficult to detect,” the Dutch Health Ministry said in a statement.
Therefore, the Dutch public health agency “recommends that any introduction of this strain of virus from the UK be limited as much as possible by limiting and / or controlling passenger movements.”
Italy has banned flights from the UK from Sunday to January 6, as the country detected a case of the new strain in a hospital in Rome.
The patient had recently returned from the UK, according to a statement from the Health Ministry.
“I have signed a new decree that blocks flights from the UK and prohibits entry into Italy to people who have stayed there for the last 14 days,” said Health Minister Roberto Speranza in a statement.
Ireland It imposed a 48-hour ban on flights from the UK, starting at midnight on Sunday. Irish Transport Secretary Eamon Ryan said the ferries will continue to operate to allow cargo shipping between the two countries.
“We need transportation to arrive to keep our shelves full, but other passengers will be restricted,” he said.
Austria, Sweden, Romania, Finland, Denmark and Bulgaria are some of the countries that have also imposed travel restrictions.
Denmark It said flights to and from the UK will be suspended for 48 hours from Monday. Finland has implemented a two-week suspension of flights, also starting Monday.
Non-EU countries join the ban
Canada announced its own ban on Sunday night. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that for 72 hours from midnight Sunday, “all flights from the UK will be barred from entering Canada.”
He added that travelers arriving on Sunday will be subjected to a secondary examination and other health measures. A government follow-up statement said cargo flights were not included in the ban.
Morocco and Turkey they also temporarily suspended flights to the UK on Sunday.
The Central American nation of The SaviorMeanwhile, he said he would refuse entry to anyone who has visited the UK in the previous 30 days.
Saudi Arabia it has suspended international flights and closed its borders for a week.
What is different about the new variant?
The variant that runs throughout the UK is up to 70% more transmissible than other typessaid British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But he stressed that “there is no evidence to suggest that it is more lethal or causes more serious disease,” or that vaccines will be less effective against it.
The new strain currently accounts for more than 62% of COVID infections in London, and has caused a new lockdown to be put in place across the south-east of England.