Italy Suspends All Travel From UK In New Travel Ban
Italy has suspended all travel from the UK in a travel ban prompted by the discovery of a new coronavirus strain in England.
The country is the latest from the EU to ban incoming travel after the new strain of COVID-19 was detected earlier this week.
Italian foreign minister Luigi di Maio announced the news today, December 20, stating there would be a suspension on all travel from the UK.
Sharing his decision on Twitter, di Maio wrote:
As a government we have a duty to protect Italians, so for this reason, after warning the British government… we are about to sign the order to suspend flights with Great Britain.
The news comes after Belgium halted plane and rail connections from the UK and the Netherlands banned incoming flights. The Dutch measures are expected to last until at least the new year, though it is not known how long Italy’s travel ban will be in place for.
Both Germany and France are said to be considering what measures to implement following the news of the new strain, The Telegraph reports.
The variant is thought to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original, prompting increased restrictions in the UK over the Christmas period.
London and large parts of the south east of England have been placed into tier 4, prohibiting the mixing of households over the festive period. Prime Minister Boris Johnson did a U-turn on previous plans to allow families to mix for five days over Christmas, instead ruling that three households can only mix on Christmas day.
Johnson said he made the decision ‘with a heavy heart’ due to the variant of the virus ‘and the potential risks it poses’.
In an interview with BBC News, health secretary Matt Hancock said the new strain was ‘out of control’.
He stressed it was ‘important for everybody to act like they might have the virus’ because we need to bring the new variant ‘under control’, adding: ‘Of course we don’t want to cancel Christmas… we don’t want to take any of these measures, but it’s our duty to take them when the evidence is clear.’
Hancock said he did not know how long the tier 4 rules would be in place, but said it ‘may be for some time, until we can get the vaccine going’.
The UK started rolling out the coronavirus vaccine to health workers and the elderly earlier this month.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]