Europe bans travel from the UK over new Covid strain: what we know so far | UK news

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A growing number of European nations have banned travel from the UK in a bid to stop a mutant strain of coronavirus crossing their borders. This is what we know so far:

Which European countries have banned flights from the UK?

France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria and the Netherlands have all said they will halt flights arriving from the UK.

The Czech Republic has imposed stricter quarantine measures for people arriving from Britain.

When do the flight bans start and how long do they last?

The Netherlands ban came into force on Sunday morning and is due to last for at least the rest of the year.

Belgium’s prime minister, Alexander De Croo, issued a flight ban order for 24 hours starting at midnight on Sunday.

Italy’s health minister, Roberto Speranza, said an order was signed on Sunday blocking flights from Britain and preventing anyone who had been to the UK in the last 14 days from entering Italy. The order bans plane travel until 6 January.

Austria and Italy have not specified when their plans to halt flights from the UK will take place.

Germany said it was banning flights from the UK starting at midnight, Berlin time, on Sunday, with the German DPA news agency reporting it would remain in place until at least 31 December .

France has banned all travel from the UK for 48 hours from midnight on Sunday.

Bulgaria said it was temporarily ceasing flights to and from the UK from midnight on Sunday.

What is the situation with Ireland?

The Irish government said on Sunday that it was imposing a 48-hour ban on flights from Britain to Ireland.

The restrictions come into force at midnight on Sunday.

Is anyone exempt?

Ireland’s transport minister, Eamon Ryan, said ferries will continue to operate for freight between Britain and Ireland.

“We need haulage coming in to keep our shelves full but other passengers will be restricted,” he said.

The German government said exemptions from its flight ban include repatriation flights of planes and their crews, postal, freight or empty flights and aircraft carrying medical personnel.

The Bulgarian embassy in London said on its website that Bulgarian citizens and their families, as well as permanent residents in Bulgaria, were able to enter the country subject to a 10-day quarantine if they fly through a different country or enter Bulgaria on land or by sea.

What are governments doing?

An EU crisis meeting has been called for Monday to discuss the coordination of the response to coronavirus among the 27-member states.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) regards other countries’ travel restrictions as a matter for their own governments.

It was previously understood to be in touch with international partners and monitoring the situation closely.

But late on Sunday night No 10 revealed that the prime minister, Boris Johnson, is due to chair a meeting of the UK government’s Cobra civil contingencies committee on Monday.

Why is this happening?

A mutant strain of coronavirus sweeping across London and the south-east of England has prompted the EU nations to start restricting inbound flights from the UK.

De Croo said Belgium’s flight ban was “out of precaution”, adding: “There are a great many questions about this new mutation and if it is not already on the mainland.”

The German embassy in London tweeted that flight restrictions were the result of “the coronavirus mutation”.

On Saturday, Johnson said there was “no evidence” the new variant “causes more severe illness or higher mortality” but “it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily”.

He said the new strain could be up to 70% more transmissible than the old virus variant.

Are international train and ferry links running?

Eurostar said it was unable to run trains from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille or Amsterdam on Monday or Tuesday.

Trains to London from Paris will continue to operate, with the rail company saying it planned to resume services to and from the UK on Wednesday.

Eurotunnel said that its last shuttle service departing for France would leave at 9.34pm, with access to its UK site prohibited from 10pm.

Dover’s ferry terminal has also closed to “all accompanied traffic leaving the UK” after France moved to shut its border.

Am I allowed to travel abroad from England?

If you are living in one of the newly created tier 4 areas, which encompasses London and parts of the south-east and east of England, you must not travel abroad.

Government guidance states people can only travel internationally if you are “legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work”.

Across England people are advised to stay local and avoid travelling outside their area.

For those living in tier 1, 2, and 3 areas, the guidance advises potential international travellers to “carefully consider whether they must travel abroad”.

It advises them to “follow the rules in their area” and consider the public health advice in the country they plan to visit.

Someone living outside tier 4 can travel into or through a tier 4 area to travel abroad if they need to.

People are also warned to check travel advice from the FCDO and what rules are in place at their destination. For many countries the FCDO is advising against “all but essential travel”.

Are nations outside Europe banning arrivals from the UK?

Yes. Iran’s health ministry has ordered flights from Britain suspended for two weeks, the state news agency IRNA reported. Israel said it was barring entry to foreign citizens travelling from Britain, Denmark and South Africa. Kuwait has added Britain to a list of “high-risk” nations and banned flights. El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, said on Twitter that anyone who had been in Britain or South Africa in the past 30 days will not be allowed to enter the country.

With Press Association and Agence France-Presse

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Europe bans travel from the UK over new Covid strain: what we know so far | UK news

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