One after the other, a number of European Union nations banned flights from the U.Ok. on Sunday and others had been contemplating such motion, all in hopes of blocking a brand new pressure of coronavirus sweeping throughout southern England from establishing a powerful foothold on the continent.

Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy all introduced restrictions on U.Ok. journey.

A authorities spokesperson in Germany mentioned the nation is engaged on a regulation to limit journey between Germany and Britain to guard the nation from the brand new coronavirus variant. The federal government mentioned it was in touch with its European companions concerning the journey restrictions, too. It wasn’t instantly clear when or for a way lengthy the restrictions can be.

Germany mentioned it can additionally limit journey to and from South Africa.

The Netherlands banned flights from the U.Ok. for at the least the remainder of the 12 months, whereas Belgium issued a flight ban for 24 hours beginning at midnight and likewise halted practice hyperlinks to Britain, together with the Eurostar. Austria and Italy mentioned they’d halt flights from the U.Ok., however didn’t say precisely when that will happen.

Italian International Minister Luigi Di Maio mentioned on Twitter that the federal government was making ready the ban “to protect Italians” from the brand new coronavirus variant. About two dozen flights had been scheduled to reach in Italy from the U.Ok. on Sunday, most within the northern area of Lombardy but in addition to Venice and Rome.

The Czech Republic imposed stricter quarantine measures from individuals arriving from Britain. An EU official, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the talks had been nonetheless ongoing, mentioned Sunday afternoon that the European Fee was in contact with member states on the quickly growing state of affairs.

A health-care employee co-ordinates individuals ready in line at a take a look at centre for antigen fast checks for COVID-19 throughout free antigen testing at Bulovka Hospital in Prague on Dec. 16. The voluntary testing is being supplied to assist mitigate the unfold of COVID-19 through the vacation season. (Michal Cizek/FP through Getty Photographs)

Simply days earlier than Christmas, high-speed practice operator Eurostar cancelled its trains between London, Brussels and Amsterdam starting Monday, however it stored trains working on the London-to-Paris route.

The EU governments mentioned they had been taking motion in response to more durable measures imposed Saturday by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on London and its surrounding areas. 

‘No proof’ new pressure is extra deadly

Johnson instantly put these areas into a brand new Tier four degree of restrictions, saying {that a} fast-moving new variant of the virus may be driving the fast unfold of recent infections in London and southern England.

“There’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” the British prime minister burdened, or that vaccines can be much less efficient in opposition to it.

WATCH | British virologist explains why there isn’t any want to fret about new coronavirus variant:

British virologist Julian Tang says the brand new pressure of coronavirus detected in Britain will seemingly nonetheless be susceptible to the vaccines developed to fight COVID-19. 0:49

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

“There are a great many questions about this new mutation,” he mentioned, including he hoped to have extra readability by Tuesday.

WHO in ‘shut contact’ with U.Ok. officers

The World Well being Group tweeted late Saturday, “We’re in close contact with U.K. officials on the new #COVID19 virus variant.” It promised to replace governments and the general public as extra is discovered about this variant.

The brand new pressure of coronavirus was recognized in southeastern England in September and has been circulating within the space since, a WHO official informed the BBC on Sunday.

“What we understand is that it does have increased transmissibility, in terms of its ability to spread,” mentioned Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19.

Research are underway to higher perceive how briskly it spreads and whether or not “it’s related to the variant itself, or a combination of factors with behaviour,” she mentioned.

Van Kerkhove mentioned the pressure had additionally been recognized in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, the place there was one case that didn’t unfold additional.

Limiting unfold would lower possibilities of mutation

“The longer this virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to change,” she mentioned. “So we really need to do everything we can right now to prevent spread, and minimizing that spread will reduce the chances of it changing.”

Viruses mutate usually, and scientists have discovered 1000’s of various mutations amongst samples of the virus inflicting COVID-19. However many of those modifications haven’t any impact on how simply the virus spreads or how extreme signs are.

Europe has been walloped this fall by hovering new infections and deaths resulting from a resurgence of the virus, and many countries have reimposed a collection of restrictions to rein of their outbreaks.

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

Johnson on Saturday closed all non-essential outlets, hairdressers, gyms and swimming pools and informed Britons to reorganize their vacation plans. Mixing of households just isn’t allowed indoors in Tier four areas, together with London, and solely important journey is permitted into and out of such areas.

In the remainder of England, individuals can be allowed to fulfill in Christmas bubbles for simply in the future as a substitute of the 5 that had been deliberate.

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