European Countries Shut Borders To UK Travel With More Expected To Follow
The Netherlands and Belgium have already suspended all flights from Britain, and trains entering Belgium have also been banned.
Italy's foreign minister has said they too will impose a ban on travel from the UK, and France and Germany are among a host of other countries thought to be planning to take a similar course.
The new variant is thought to be responsible for the rapid rise in cases that has seen London and some of the South East move from Tier Two to Tier Four of England's coronavirus restrictions within a matter of days.
Just yesterday (19 December), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the planned relaxation of rules around Christmas would be scrapped for those areas at very short notice for the millions who had planned to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with up to three households between 23 and 27 December.
Health experts have said that while there is no current evidence the new strain of the virus is more deadly or resistant to the current vaccines, it could be as much as 70 percent more transmissible.
Within hours of Johnson's announcement, the Netherlands said they'd be stopping all flights from the UK into their country, stating that 'greater clarity' would be needed on the situation.
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The Dutch government said the 'risk of the new virus strain being introduced to the Netherlands should be minimised as much as possible'.
They added that they would be working with other European Union countries to 'explore the scope for further limiting the risk of the new strain of the virus being brought over from the UK'.
Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo then told TV channel VRT that a 24 hour ban would be brought in as a 'precautionary measure' and added: "We will see later if we need additional measures."
The variant has also been detected in South Africa, and a source from Germany's healthy ministry told AFP the country was considering banning flights from there, as well as the UK.
France is reportedly 'seriously' considering suspending flights and trains, but is 'looking for European co-ordination' on the matter.
Ireland's government is holding urgent talks and a decision will be made later today, whereas Austrian media have reported the country is also planning to ban UK travel.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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