The Speaker
Sunday, 19 May 2024 – 18:11

Large number of countries ban arrivals from UK over new strain of COVID-19

A large number of countries have banned arrivals from the UK due to concerns over the new strain of COVID-19 that has been identified in the UK.

Hong Kong, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are just some of the countries halting flights to the UK, with more to potentially follow in the coming days. Meanwhile, France has temporarily shut its border with the UK, prompting fears of potential food shortages. 

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has said that there is enough food in the UK for traditional Christmas lunches, however, there may be shortages of fruit and vegetables in the coming days if restrictions remain in place at ports.

The French Government has said on Monday morning that it will establish a ‘protocol to ensure that movement from the UK can resume’ in ‘the next few hours’. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine will not be impacted by the travel bans.

EU member states are to meet in Brussels later to discuss a coordinated response to the situation, while in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to chair a COBRA emergency response meeting.

The travel bans come amid concerns over a new strain of COVID-19, announced last week but thought to have been identified months ago in parts of the UK. Over the weekend, around 16 million people have been put under new Tier 4 restrictions, while changes have also been made to the planned easing of restrictions over the Christmas period.

On Sunday, another 35,928 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the UK, an increase of over 17,000 cases compared to the same day in the previous week. 

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