USA World News

EU states suspend travel from UK over new Covid strain

European countries have started suspending all incoming air travel from the UK amid mounting concern over a new strain of Covid-19.

The new variant of coronavirus apparently native to Britain is up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original. 

Germany, France and Ireland are the latest to have suspended travel, announcing the moves shortly after Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium made similar decisions. Bulgaria has also suspended travel from Britain, Reuters reported on Sunday evening.

A spokesperson for the German government said on Sunday afternoon that the country was working on a regulation to restrict travel from Britain to protect the country from the new coronavirus variant. It was not immediately clear when or for how long the restrictions would last.

In the early hours of the morning, the Dutch health ministry issued a statement stating that a virus with the variant described in the UK had been identified in the Netherlands in  early December. 

It said that pending further investigation, any introduction of this virus strain from the UK must be “limited as much as possible” by controlling passenger movements from the country – with a flight ban applying until at the earliest 1 January 2021.  

Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo meanwhile said he was issuing the order for 24 hours starting at midnight “out of precaution,” and that he hoped to have more clarity on Tuesday.

Further afield, Saudi Arabia has also reportedly blocked travel from the UK.

The UK government’s decision to abandon the original five-day relaxation of measures between 23 and 27 December came in light of a new variant of coronavirus that is up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original.