By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER, The Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) – On Sunday several EU countries banned flights from the UK and Germany, considering limiting such flights to ensure a new strain of coronovirus in southern England Does not establish a strong 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 halting train links to the UK, including Eurostar. Austria and Italy said they would stop flights from the UK but did not give any details of the ban at any time.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Mao said on Twitter that the government was preparing measures to “save Italians” from the new coronovirus variants. About two dozen flights were scheduled to arrive in Italy on Sunday, most in the northern region of Lombardy, but also in Veneto and Lazio, including Venice and Rome respectively.
German officials, meanwhile, were considering “serious options” about flights originating from the UK, but have not yet taken action.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic implemented harsh quarantine measures from people coming from the UK.
European Union governments say they are working in London and its surrounding areas on Saturday in response to strict measures imposed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He immediately put those areas into a new level 4 of sanctions, saying that an increasingly new version of the virus that is 70% more permeable than existing strains, the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England Causes
“There is no evidence to suggest that it is more fatal or causes more serious illness,” Johnson said, or that the vaccines would be less effective against it.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Crew said on Sunday that he was issuing a ban “out of the assumption” of the flight starting at midnight.
“There are a lot of questions about this new mutation and if it isn’t already on the mainland,” he said. He expected more clarity by Tuesday.
The World Health Organization tweeted late on Saturday that “we are in close contact with UK authorities on the new # COVID19 virus variant”. It promised to update governments and the public as more information about this version is obtained.
A WHO official told the BBC on Sunday that a new strain of coronavirus was identified in southeastern England in September and has since been roaming the area.
“What we understand is that in terms of diffusion capacity, permeability has increased,” said Maria Van Kerakhov, WHO’s technical leadership on COVID-19.
Studies are underway to understand how fast it spreads and whether “it is related to the variant itself, or a combination of factors with behavior,” she said.
He said the tension was also identified in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, where there was a case that did not spread further.
“The longer the virus spreads, the more opportunities there are to change it,” she said. “So we really need to do everything we can to stop the spread, and reducing that spread will reduce the chances of it changing.”
Susan Hopkins of Public Health England said the variant has been circulating since September, but it wasn’t until this week that officials felt they had enough evidence to declare that it had a higher transmission than other circulating viruses Ability. That tension has spread to other parts of Britain, but in lesser amounts than in London and surrounding areas, she told the BBC.
News agency Xinhua reported on Sunday that Germany has not yet imposed a ban but is considering limiting or discontinuing flights from the UK. A highly placed German official told dpa that a ban on flights from Britain is a “serious option”.
This decline has been brought to an end by increasing new infections and deaths due to the resurgence of the virus in Europe, and many countries have repeated a series of sanctions to govern in their outbreaks.
The UK has killed more than 67,000 people in Italy, the second largest confirmed toll in Europe after Italy.
Johnson on Saturday closed all non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms and pools and asked the British people to restructure their holiday plans. Mixing is no longer allowed in homes in Tier 4 regions, including London, and only essential travel into and out of such areas is allowed. In the rest of England, people will be allowed to meet in the Christmas bubble for just one day instead of the five planned.
On Saturday, videos surfaced showing crowds of people crowding London train stations, apparently making room for less stringent coronovirus restrictions in Britain before the new rules came into force. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “those scenes were completely irresponsible.”
“We certainly have a responsibility in government, but every single person does that,” he said. “The argument I have is that people will play their role. Because it is only by acting – all of us – that we can keep it under control. “
Rough desserts in Brussels, Sylvia Hui in London and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed reporting.
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