Dozens of countries ban flights from UK as new coronavirus strain ‘out of control’
UK isolated as countries ban travel.
Christmas in the UK plunged into chaos on the weekend after dozens of states around the world suspended travel to the country.
Reports emerged of a highly infectious coronavirus strain, which was described as “out of control” by the British government.
In a speech to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” before putting southern England into a strict tier 4 lockdown.
Many countries in Europe, as well as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia Morocco, Canada, Hong Kong, Jordan, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, India and El Salvador responded to the news by imposing an immediate ban on all flights to the UK.
The World Health Organization (WHO) called for stronger containment measures as the fast-moving new variant of the virus is thought to be 70% more transmissible than existing strains.
“What we understand is that it does have increased transmissibility, in terms of its ability to spread,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19.
“The longer this virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to change,” she said. “So we really need to do everything we can right now to prevent spread.”
The new restrictions come at a delicate time in Britain’s negotiations to leave the EU, as talks on a trade deal continue ahead of its departure from the single market on January 1.