Countries ban travel from UK due to concerns over new, more infectious, strain of Covid-19

The UK has tightened up Covid-19 restrictions ahead of Christmas.

Jason Fan | December 21, 2020, 12:42 PM

A number of nations have begun imposing travel bans on the UK, due to concerns over a more infectious strain of Covid-19,

According to BBC, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all halting flights to the UK, after the new variant of Covid-19 began spreading rapidly in London and south-east England.

May be up to 70 per cent more transmissible

According to UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the new strain of Covid-19 was "out of control".

He also said that it was "an incredibly difficult end to frankly an awful year".

A separate BBC report said that the new strain of virus was first detected in September.

By mid-December, nearly two-thirds of the cases found in London were the new variant.

The new Covid-19 variant was said to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible, according to a presentation by Dr Eriok Volz, from Imperial College London.

The same figure was repeated by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

First case of UK variant found in Italy

Concerns over the new variant of Covid-19 has caused many European nations to ban travel from the UK.

France has suspended all travel links, including freight lorries, with the UK for 48 hours.

Thousands of lorries typically move between the two countries every day.

Ireland has banned all flights arriving from England, Wales and Scotland for 48 hours.

People from Britain, regardless of nationality, were also advised not to travel to Ireland by air or sea, "in the interests of public health".

Italy is taking more severe measures, blocking all flights from the UK until Jan. 6, 2021.

The first case of the UK variant has been detected in Italy, with the patient in isolation in Rome.

People living in London must stay home for Christmas

On Dec. 19, Johnson introduced a new tier four level of restrictions for London, the south-east and east of England.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers, and leisure and entertainment venues will have to close.

Households are not allowed to mix, but one person is allowed to meet with one other person outside in a public space.

Those who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to go to work, and to limit time spent outside their homes.

In addition, tier four residents are not allowed to stay away from home overnight, and cannot travel abroad.

This means that those living in tier four areas must stay at home over Christmas, and may not meet up with other households.

In the rest of England, the window for multiple households meeting has also been reduced from a five-day window, to just Christmas day.

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