EU Countries Are Restricting Air Traffic With The UK Due To New COVID-19 Strain
Several European countries are planning to restrict flights to the UK or have already cancelled flights to the country because of the threat of the spread of a new, more contagious strain of coronavirus, the BBC reports.
On Sunday, December 20, the authorities of the Netherlands announced the suspension of flights from the UK until January 1. A similar decision was taken by the Belgian government. Trains from the UK will also stop going to the country.
Plans to adopt similar measures were also reported in France and Germany, BBC writes. The Bild newspaper reported on Sunday citing sources in the government that the German authorities were considering to ban flights with the UK. Le Parisien’s interlocutor said French authorities would « undoubtedly » take similar measures but no final decisions had yet been taken.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday on his Facebook page that Italy would impose similar restrictions soon. « Our priority is to protect Italy and our compatriots, » the minister said.
According to the BBC, the strain of coronavirus discovered in the UK is spreading 70% faster than previously known variants of the virus. So far, however, scientists have not found any increased resistance of the strain to available vaccines against COVID-19, nor any greater lethality.
As the BBC reports, the World Health Organization has announced that the new strain of the coronavirus has been detected in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia in addition to the UK. The number of people infected with the new strain in these countries, however, remains small: nine cases have been detected in Denmark and one in each of the other countries.