Over the weekend, countries across Europe announced travel bans on the United Kingdom, with the growing list of countries spanning all other regions of the globe. The restrictions come in the wake of the discovery of a new (and possibly highly transmissible) COVID-19 strain in the United Kingdom, coupled with the UK prime minister's Saturday announcement of the strictest domestic movement restrictions to-date, including a new Tier 4 "stay at home" level alert for parts of England (encompassing London). Similar cases of the mutated virus have appeared in Australia, Denmark, and the Netherlands, while a new strain, different from that discovered in the United Kingdom, has been identified in South Africa. On Sunday, December 20, the Netherlands was one of the first countries to ban flights carrying passengers from the United Kingdom. Numerous countries in the region quickly followed suit. The EU's crisis response committee was scheduled to meet December 21. But as of 8:00 PM UTC, December 21, the following European countries have announced restrictions on travel from the United Kingdom, with suspensions covering travel by air (whether direct or connecting), rail, and ferry, and ranging anywhere from 48 hours to a period extending into the new year: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, and Sweden.
The restrictions have also spread beyond Europe's borders. New travel restrictions have been imposed by countries within the region, including Turkey and Russia, and beyond, from Canada and Chile, to Hong Kong and India, to Kuwait. Travel from the United Kingdom to the United States is already subject to a ban (subject to some exception) under a Presidential Proclamation that covers, additionally, Ireland and the Schengen Area.
Originally published 22 December, 2020
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