Decorative symbol of coronavirus/Photo: Germany's Federal Centre for Health Education or BzGA

COVID-19: Countries impose UK travel bans over new coronavirus variant

Following the detection of a new coronavirus strain, found to have a higher transmission rate in England, at least 27 countries have banned flights and travellers from the United Kingdom.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had on Saturday broken the news that London and Southeast England would go into restrictions Sunday.

“It is with a very heavy heart, I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” said Johnson Saturday evening. “There’s no evidence that it causes more severe illness or higher mortality, but it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily.”

The new strain could be up to 70 percent more infectious, the UK leader said, prompting its European neighbours and several other countries including Canada and Iran to close their doors to travellers from the country.

According to Spectator Index,  here are the countries that have announced travel bans so far:

Argentina has banned flights from the UK. It said the last flight from the UK would arrive in the country on Monday.

Belgium banned flights from the UK for at least 24 hours from midnight on Sunday.

Bulgaria said flights to and from the UK would be suspended from midnight Sunday until January 31.

Canada is banning all UK flights for 72 hours.

Croatia said it would temporarily suspend passenger air traffic from the UK for 48 hours.

Denmark has suspended flights from the UK for 48 hours starting Monday at 09:00 GMT.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have halted flights from the UK.

Finland has barred flights from the UK for two weeks.

France has banned all travel from the UK for 48 hours, including journeys “related to goods transport by road, air, sea or rail”.

Germany halted all air links with the UK from midnight on Sunday, with the ban initially slated to last until December 31. Cargo flights will be exempted.

Italy has blocked flights from Great Britain and the “entry into Italy of people who have stayed there during the last 14 days”. The new strain has been found in one person in Italy who recently returned from the UK.

Iran has ordered flights from the UK suspended for two weeks.

Ireland has banned all flights arriving from the UK from midnight Sunday for at least 48 hours.

Israel said it was barring entry to foreign citizens travelling from the UK, Denmark and South Africa.

Morocco banned all flights to the UK beginning on Sunday.

Norway will be suspend flights from the UK with immediate effect for a minimum of 48 hour, the Norwegian health minister said in a statement on Monday.

All passenger flights from the UK to the Netherlands have been banned until January 1, the Dutch government said. It later banned ferry passengers as well.

Poland will be suspending flights from the UK starting from midnight on Monday.

Romania has banned all flights to and from the UK for two weeks starting on Monday afternoon.

Switzerland has stopped flights until further notice.

Turkey said flights from the UK, Denmark – where nine cases of the new strain have been detected – the Netherlands and South Africa will be suspended.

Saudi Arabia government have also halted international flights and closed its borders for one week over fears about the fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus.

India is the latest addition to suspension of travellers and flights to the UK.


Abeeb Alawiye

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