Now, China suspends UK flights over new virus strain

WION Web Team
Beijing Published: Dec 24, 2020, 03:49 PM(IST)

British Airways Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Several European countries have now started easing travel bans imposed on Britain which has been negotiating with the EU for a last-minute Brexit deal which is set to announced shortly.

A day after the UK government declared a new strain of coronavirus was discovered from South Africa, China on suspended flights from Britain.

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“Taking into account the changing nature of the virus and the impact this could have, and to safeguard the health of Chinese and foreigners coming and going, the Chinese side decided to suspend flights with Britain, after a thorough evaluation and consultation of other countries’ policies,” China's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

EU countries including other governments announced a ban on flights from the UK after a COVID-19 variant was announced by British PM Johnson last Saturday. 

On Wednesday, British foreign secretary Matt Hankock had declared another strain was discovered in the UK which had come in from South Africa with two infected cases reported in the country.

The Johnson government moved quickly to introduce restrictions on travel from South Africa over the spread of another new variant of coronavirus.

However, several European countries have now started easing travel bans imposed on Britain which has been negotiating with the EU for a last-minute Brexit deal which is set to announced shortly.

France had blocked the land border on Monday after PM Johnson declared that the new strain was "70 per cent" more transferrable leading several thousand trucks stranded at the French-UK border at Dover. 

Although the trucks were allowed to move early on Tuesday but British authorities insisted on a COVID-19 test for drivers leading to scuffles at the border as several truckers complained they would be stuck for days and would not make it in time for Christmas with their families even as WHO's Europe director Hans Kluge said that the UN body would "discuss strategies for testing, reducing transmission & communicating risks."

Meanwhile, the Europen Union is planning to kick off its vaccination from December 27 as most of Europe is being forced to celebrate Christmas at home.

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