Sunday, May 9, 2021

UK being closed off by other countries as ‘more infectious’ Covid virus spreads in England

The new variant has spread quickest in London and south-east England, but cases are being reported all across the UK.

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European and other countries are imposing travel bans on the UK because of the new, more infectious Covid-19 variant which the government has admitted is “out of control” there.

Within Europe, Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all halting flights from British airports.

Outside Europe, Turkey and Kuwait have also banned flights from the UK.

The measures mostly affect passenger traffic but the French have also banned freight from travelling across the English Channel. Usually, thousands of lorries move between the countries every day by ship.

The Channel Port of Dover is now closed to traffic leaving the UK “until further notice” due to the border restrictions in France, port authorities said in a statement.

In response to France’s ban, Eurotunnel has now suspended access to trains running under the Channel between Folkestone and Calais.

An EU meeting on Monday morning will discuss a more coordinated response to the crisis.

The new variant has spread quickly in London and south-east England, but cases are being reported all across the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has scrapped a planned relaxation of rules over the Christmas period.

Top health officials said that there was no evidence the new variant was more deadly, or would react differently to vaccines, but it was proving to be up to 70% more transmissible.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted the new strain “is out of control”.

The UK on Sunday reported a daily increase of more than 13,000 cases – a new record, despite tough lockdown measures.

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