European countries ban flights from UK over new coronavirus variant

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Dec 20, 2020, 04:45 PM(IST)

British Airways Photograph:( Reuters )

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Countries such as Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy have banned all incoming flights after new variant of coronavirus was found in the UK

A few days after the UK announced identifying a new variant of coronavirus, several European countries are thinking of banning all incoming flights from the country.

Belgium has become the first country to impose an immediate ban which will commence from midnight (2300 GMT) on Sunday. The decision was announced by the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo who has claimed the ban will be in place at least for the next 24 hours.

The Netherlands and Ireland have also followed the path and decided to ban all flights from Sunday.

Also read: A new coronavirus strain is spreading more quickly

Italy and has announced a similar ban. "The United Kingdom has issued an alert concerning a new strain of Covid-19," Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on his Facebook account. "As the government, our duty is to protect Italians and for this reason... we will sign, with the health minister, a decree suspending flights to and from Britain."

Germany, too, has imposed ban on all incoming flights from the UK and South Africa due to the new variant of coronavirus. The top officials are observing the situation in the UK and working with other European countries to impose a ban and safeguard the lives of their own citizens from the new coronavirus variant.

These bans have come a day after the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced another lockdown in the capital city of London after the new variant resulted in a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Also read: After UK, South Africa identifies new strain of coronavirus amid second wave

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has assured everyone that their researchers are already closely working with the officials of the UK and South Africa to identify and detect the new variant of coronavirus. "They'll (UK officials) continue to share info & results of their analysis & ongoing studies. We'll update Member States & public as we learn more about the characteristics of this virus variant & any implications", WHO said in a tweet.

As per the initial investigations, the new strain is 70 per cent more infectious. However, whether or not it is deadlier has not yet been established. A few scientists, however, believe the existing vaccines should still be effective against the new variant.

For now, the UK PM Boris Johnson has announced that Tier 4 restrictions will now apply in London and other parts of England from Sunday till further notice.

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