European states move to ban UK flights over new strain
- 21 December 2020
Hours after Britain announced a harsher lockdown due to a fast-spreading coronavirus strain, France, Germany, Italy and other European states rushed to limit the new strain’s reach, cutting off transport links, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
Across the channel, France suspended all traffic to and from the UK starting Sunday midnight for at least 48 hours. Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Twitter that the decision was taken over the new fast-spreading strain, adding: “We are now working to build a harmonized European health protocol.”
The decision to ban rail, road and flight transportation for passengers and freight goods was taken in an emergency Sunday night meeting of a health defense committee remotely chaired by President Emmanuel Macron from his quarantine and recuperation from COVID-19 symptoms.
German is also halting all flights from the UK and South Africa, Health Minister Jens Spahn told ARD television on Sunday, saying the step comes “in view of the reports of mutated viruses.”
With Belgium and the Netherlands making similar moves, Italy on Sunday also banned flights to and from the UK.
“As a government, we have the duty to protect Italians. So for this reason, after alerting the British government, together with the Health Ministry we are about to sign an order to suspend flights with Great Britain,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook.