European nations have begun imposing travel bans on the UK after reporting a more contagious and “out of control” variant of coronavirus.
As the World Health Organization urged its European members to strengthen measures against a new variant of Covid-19 circulating in Britain, the Netherlands imposed a ban on UK flights from 6:00 am (0500 GMT) on Sunday and Belgium said it would follow suit from midnight with ban on planes and trains from the UK.
The new variant quickly spread in London and the south-east of England.
Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium are suspending all flights. The measures vary and are initially short-term, but French regulations also have an impact on Channel freight.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday introduced a new Level 4 restriction level for these areas, ending a planned relaxation of the rules during the Christmas season for millions of people.
Senior health officials said there was no evidence that the new variant was more lethal or would respond differently to vaccines, but it was found to be up to 70% more transmissible
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new strain “was out of control. We have got to get it under control”, admitting that this was “an incredibly difficult end to frankly an awful year”.
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,685,785 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Sunday.
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