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COVID-19: Nations shut borders to UK trip over new COVID variant fears | UK Information


Countries around the world have imposed restrictions on travel from the UK due to fears of a new strain of the coronavirus.

They are:

  • The Netherlands has banned flights with passengers from the UK until 1 January
  • Belgium has banned flights and rail travel from the UK for 24 hours with more clarity expected on Tuesday
  • Italy has banned air passenger from Britain until 6 January and also anyone who has transited through the UK in the previous 14 days. Residents of Italy will still be able to depart Britain to return home.
  • Austria has banned flights from the UK but the duration of the measure is not clear
  • Germany is banning flights from the UK for an unspecified duration
  • Spain will cut flights if there is no joint EU response to the threat posed by the new virus strain
  • Portugal says only Portuguese people and residents of the country can arrive from the UK. Everyone must show proof of a negative COVID test, which can be accessed at airports
  • Bulgaria is suspending flights from the UK until 31 January
  • France will bar entry for 48 hours (from Sunday night) to those coming from the UK (and accompanied freight) by road, air, sea or rail
  • Sweden is preparing to ban entry from the UK but the details are not yet clear
  • Turkey is suspending flights from the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands, with the last two countries among those where the new strain has also been found
  • Canada is banning flights from the UK for 72 hours
  • Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for travellers for a week
  • Israel has banned entry to all non-Israelis flying from the UK, including those who transited through the UK. Israelis arriving from the UK will have to be isolated in a designated hotel for two weeks
  • El Salvador has banned travellers who have been in the UK within the previous 30 days, including transit
  • Ireland has banned flights and ferries from the UK for 48 hours
  • The Czech Republic says arrivals who have spent at least 24 hours in UK territory will need to isolate
  • Colombia, Morocco, Chile, Finland, Denmark, and Argentina have also banned travellers from the UK

A government spokesman said it was in contact with its European partners about the travel restrictions, but it was not immediately clear when or for how long they would last.

An EU crisis meeting has been called for Monday to discuss the coordination of the response to coronavirus among the 27 member states.

Boris Johnson said the fast-moving new variant of the virus, which he added is thought to be 70% more transmissible than existing strains, appears to be driving a rapid spread of new infections.

The prime minister put London and much of the South East, where the new strain is most prevalent, into a Tier 4 lockdown over the Christmas period in an attempt to get the disease back under control.

Viruses mutate regularly, and scientists have found thousands of different of mutations among samples of the virus causing COVID-19.

But many of these changes have no effect on how easily the virus spreads or how severe symptoms are.

Britain has alerted the World Health Organisation over the new variant, saying it has accounted for some 60% of London’s cases.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the country is facing an “enormous challenge”, adding that the mutation was “out of control” and could see areas stuck in Tier 4 until the UK’s most vulnerable have been vaccinated.

The new variant has spread to every region of England, as well as parts of Scotland and Wales. It has been seen in some European countries and even as far away as South Africa and Australia.

In Australia, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said two returned travellers from the UK who tested positive to COVID-19 were found to be carrying the mutated variant of the virus.

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