Nearly 20 Countries Have Now Banned Travel From UK
Nearly 20 countries have banned travel from the UK following the identification of a new variant of COVID-19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson plunged London and the south-east of England into tier four restrictions over the weekend, citing rapidly growing numbers due to a mutation of coronavirus.
In addition to the fallout across the entirety of the country, including Scotland’s ban on travel across the UK, other nations are taking stringent action to prevent the variant spreading.
So far, these are the 18 countries which have introduced travel restrictions between themselves and the UK: the Netherlands; France; Germany; Italy; Ireland; Belgium; Austria; Turkey; Switzerland; Bulgaria; Canada; Israel; Iran; Croatia; Argentina; Chile; Morocco; and Kuwait.
While there is no evidence the new variant is more dangerous, it is reportedly up to 70% more transmissible. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was ‘getting out of control’ – however, there’s no evidence to suggest it will affect the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that has recently started its rollout.
With regards to France, all outbound journeys via the Eurotunnel have been halted. Those who had booked to travel on Monday can still receive a refund, and trains are still operating from Calais to Folkestone today, December 21. All freight travel has been suspended for 48 hours, during a period in which 10,000 lorries generally travel between Dover and Calais every day.
All passenger flights from the UK have been banned in the Netherlands until January 1 ‘at the latest’, in addition to ferry passengers. Freight travel will proceed.
Both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have also banned passenger travel for 48 hours, saying, ‘In the interests of public health, people in Britain, regardless of nationality, should not travel to Ireland, by air or sea,’ as per BBC News.
In Germany, passenger flights coming from the UK won’t be permitted, however cargo planes are still allowed to land. Italy has banned all UK flights until January 6. Similarly to the rest of the countries, bans are temporary, but Bulgaria’s suspension lasts until January 31.
Canada has suspended all passengers flights from the UK for a period of 72 hours, with the exception of ‘cargo flights, aircraft landing for safety reasons or flights that land for technical stops where no passengers disembark’, as per Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
Those who landed in Canada on Sunday, December 20, before the ban came into place, would be ‘subject to secondary screening and enhanced measures, including increased scrutiny of quarantine plans’.
The PM is set to hold an emergency meeting later today following the travel bans.
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