After a highly infectious mutated strain of coronavirus was discovered in the United Kingdom and plunged most of the country into lockdown, more than a dozen countries have banned flights from the region.
The Daily Mail reports that France, Germany, Israel, El Salvador, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Turkey, Morocco, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Ireland have banned all flights from the UK.
On top of flights being canceled, trains will not run in between the countries. The Eurotunnel Le Shuttle has said that the UK-France border will close at 11 p.m. tonight, and the last shuttle between the UK and France is at 9:24 p.m., with access to the UK prohibited from 10 p.m. The Eurostar has also canceled its trains between London, Brussels in Belgium, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, starting on Monday.
The travel restrictions were imposed after southern England was put in a Tier 4 lockdown to curb a new “mutant” strain of coronavirus. The new strain is 70 percent more infectious. According to the outlet, the World Health Organization said the strain has already been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands, and South Africa. At the same time, one case was found in Australia. No cases have been identified in the United States. Though more infections, it does not cause more severe sickness.
“We understand that the virus does not cause more severe disease from the preliminary information that [the UK] shared with us, although again those studies are underway to look at hospitalized patients with this variant,” WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove told the BBC on Sunday.
More countries are expected to place travel bans in the UK in the coming days.
Under the Tier 4 lockdown, non-essential businesses are shut down. People are limited to meeting one other person from outside the household outdoors.