European Countries Ban UK: Travel from UK banned due to new Covid-19 strain

European Countries Ban UK: Travel from UK banned due to new Covid-19 strain

The new COVID Variant causes increase in cases, while closure of borders puta a halt to travel and supply chains

European countries have banned flights, Eurotunnel, Eurostar and ferries carrying passengers from the UK to suppress the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus that has caused the UK Prime Minister to do another U-turn and place much of England into a Tier 4 lockdown, and thereby cancelling the Christmas plans of millions.

France also suspended passenger and human-handled freight transport from the UK for 48 hours from 11pm on Sunday. 

The Road Haulage Association warned the move would have a “devastating effect” on supply chains already disrupted by Brexit stockpiling and pandemic restrictions.

The New Strain of Coronavirus Blamed for the UK being Banned from Travel to the rest of Europe

A mutation of the coronavirus in London and the south-east of England prompted the EU nations to start restricting inbound flights from the UK.

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

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

Britain has alerted the World Health Organisation over the new variant, saying that it accounted for some 60% of London's cases.

Known as VUI-202012/01, the virus has already been found in all parts of the UK, aside from Northern Ireland.  

It is also found in Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands and other countries.   Additionally, French President, Emmanuel Macron, has already stated that it is “entirely possible” that the strain of virus may be already spreading in France. The Netherlands said it had detected a case of the same strain in early December and was investigating

Which European countries have banned flights from the UK?

The growing list of countries that have banned flights from the UK include:

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • the Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

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

Estonia and Latvia have halted flights to the UK as well.

Coordinated Approach to Banning the UK from Travel to Europe

Spain is pushing for a coordinated approach to this new strain and has not placed a ban on the UK. It is seeking the EU institutions to coordinate a response.

Such co-ordinated response is likely because the EU felt that at the beginning when the pandemic started to take hold in Europe earlier in the year, the member states adopted an “every-country-for-itself” approach to the closing of European borders due to the coronavirus, which goes against the very idea of Europe’s free movement and Schengen Area.

French officials said the 48-hour suspension is to allow for time for the 27 EU member states to co-ordinate their response. The French envisage a system allowing traffic from the UK, with pre-departure Covid-19 tests, from December 22.  

So if this new strain of coronavirus is already in a number of different countries, is this good enough reason for the European countries travel ban on the UK? Comment below.

Other Countries that have banned the UK?

Other countries banning the UK are growing. The list currently stands as:

  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines 
  • Saudi Arabia 
  • Singapore
  • South Africa 
  • South Korea
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Uzbekistan

and Chile has introduced mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone who visited the UK in the last fortnight.

Will the US ban UK flights?

The US State Department’s travel advisory for the UK remains unchanged at Level 3, which means travellers should “reconsider travel”. If it moves to level 4, the US will be then advising people in the US to not travel to the UK. 

However, it is being reported that New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, has said he wanted a ban on flights from Britain to New York City because of the new strain.

“Right now, this variant in the UK is getting on a plane and flying to JFK,” he was quoted by the Washington Post as having said.

This comes on the heels that President Donald Trump is rumoured to be considering relaxing the current travel restrictions that he put in place by signing his Presidential Proclamations prohibiting people in the UK & Europe from travelling directly to the US.

In the meantime, the UK Prime Minister is chairing a crisis meeting, referred to as a COBRA meeting, to coordinate the actions of government bodies in response to the situation regarding international travel, in particular the steady flow of freight into and out of the UK.

The sudden changes to travel and a ban on travel and freight from the UK may be what lies in store if there is no deal Brexit. If trade agreements are not in place, and if there is a change in policy or whim of another EU country or the block as a whole, the UK can be left isolated in Europe.

With the covid pandemic raging on, this could also be a taste of things to come after 31st December, as the UK becomes a 3rd country and the EU will, and can, put in place travel advisories, restrictions and bans against third party countries, like the UK.

Do you have plans to travel for the holidays? Comment below.

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