Minggu, 20 Desember 2020

Belgium, Netherlands, Austria ban flights from UK, fearing coronavirus variant - Sydney Morning Herald

Berlin: France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy on Sunday banned flights from the UK to prevent a new strain of coronavirus that's sweeping across southern England from gaining a foothold on the continent.

The Netherlands banned flights from the UK for at least the rest of the year while Belgium issued a flight ban for 24 hours starting at midnight and also halted train links to Britain, including the Eurostar. Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said his country woudld also suspend all flights from Britain “to protect Italians.”

Regent Street after Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced Tier 4 restrictions for London and the south-east of England.

Regent Street after Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced Tier 4 restrictions for London and the south-east of England.Credit:PA via AP

Austria said it would also halt flights from the UK but there were no immediate details on the timing of the ban, the Austrian news agency APA reported. The Czech Republic, meanwhile, imposed stricter quarantine measures from people arriving from the UK.

Germany says it's banning flights from the UK starting at midnight, local time, in response to new virus variant.


France has also joined the list of countries to ban travel to the UK. The EU governments say their response comes in reaction to tougher measures imposed in London and surrounding areas by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He immediately put those regions into a new Tier 4 level of restrictions, saying that a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains appears to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England.

“There’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” Johnson said, or that vaccines will be less effective against it.

In an unprecedented move, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Saturday that the border between Scotland and England would be closed on Boxing Day and patrolled by Scottish police. Under the UK's system of devolved government, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are managing the coronavirus pandemic independently of Boris Johnson's British government

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Sunday said he was issuing the flight ban for 24 hours starting at midnight “out of precaution.”

“There are a great many questions about this new mutation and if it is not already on the mainland,” he said. He hoped to have more clarity by Tuesday.

The World Health Organisation tweeted that, “We're in close contact with UK officials on the new #COVID19 virus variant." It promised to update governments and the public as more is learned about this variant.

The new strain of coronavirus was identified in south-eastern England in September and has been circulating in the area since, a WHO official told the BBC on Sunday.

“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.

Studies are under way to better understand how fast it spreads and and whether “it’s related to the variant itself, or a combination of factors with behaviour,” she said.

She said the strain had also been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, where there was one case that did not spread further.

“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, and minimising that spread will reduce the chances of it changing.”

Susan Hopkins of Public Health England said that while the variant has been circulating since September, it wasn’t until this week that officials felt they had enough evidence to declare that it has higher transmissibility than other circulating viruses.

The strain has spread to other parts of the UK but in smaller amounts than in London and surrounding areas, she told the BBC.

The Czech Republic announced that all people arriving in the country who spent at least 24 hours on British territory during the last two weeks have to isolate as of this Sunday.

Europe has been walloped this fall by soaring new infections and deaths due to a resurgence of the virus, and many nations have reimposed a series of restrictions to reign in their outbreaks.

Britain has seen over 67,000 deaths in the pandemic, the second-highest confirmed toll in Europe after Italy.

Johnson on Saturday closed all non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms and pools and told people in England to reorganise their holiday plans. No mixing of households is now allowed indoors in Tier 4 areas, including London, and only essential travel is permitted into and out of such areas.

In the rest of England, people will be allowed to meet in Christmas bubbles for just one day instead of the five that were planned.

Most Viewed in World

Let's block ads! (Why?)

2020-12-20 13:43:00Z

Tidak ada komentar:

Posting Komentar