A wind of concern is blowing in Europe after the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom. Several countries of the Old Continent announced, Sunday, November 20, the suspension of flights arriving on their territory from British territory.
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This new strain is “out of control”, acknowledged the British Minister of Health, Matt Hancock, justifying a reconfinement of London and the south-east of the United Kingdom. “It will be very difficult to keep her under control until a vaccine is deployed”, he warned, adding that this variant of the coronavirus could be up to 70% more contagious than the previous one. The variant was also detected “in small numbers” in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia, theWorld Health Organization, which calls on Europeans to “strengthen their controls”.
As a result, several European capitals immediately announced the suspension of flights and trains to the United Kingdom. In the Netherlands, thehe government stopped all passenger flights from the United Kingdom from Sunday morning until January 1.
Italy will also suspend flights with the United Kingdom, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced on Sunday afternoon, on social networks, without specifying when this measure would come into force. As for Belgium, it suspend flights and trains from from the UK from Sunday at midnight. Faced with the multiplication of these decisions, Spain pleaded for a response “coordinate” of the European Union.
“The aim is to protect the rights of European citizens through coordination and avoiding unilateral measures.”the spanish government
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France has decided to suspend all travel from the United Kingdom for 48 hours, “including related to the transport of goods, by road, air, sea or rail”, said Matignon after a Defense Council. The French President, isolated Pavilion de la Lanterne in Versailles (Yvelines) since he tested positive for Covid-19, convened by videoconference an exceptional health defense council, late Sunday afternoon.
Ireland will suspend its air links with Great Britain also for “at least” 48 hours from Sunday at midnight, the government said in a statement, specifying that this measure would be reassessed on Tuesday. Maritime links will continue to be provided.
For its part, Germany is preparing to to suspend “from Sunday midnight” its air links with the United Kingdom, a government source told AFP at the end of the afternoon. This decision, which could be adopted by the whole of the European Union, must be formalized “in the next few hours”, said this source. L‘Germany “is in contact on the file with its European partners”, a government spokesperson wrote earlier in a press release.
Such disruption to air and rail traffic, if continued, could exacerbate Brexit-related transport problems, with the UK leaving the EU’s single market on December 31, which guarantees free movement within its borders. borders.
Since the beginning of December, huge traffic jams with trucks have been visible near Calais (Pas-de-Calais), near the Channel Tunnel. As Brexit approaches, British companies are stockpiling, causing a real congestion on the roads.