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‘A nightmare trapped in a recurring nightmare’: Two-day suspension on travel from UK to be announced over new Covid fears


by Amanda Cassidy
20th Dec 2020

Five European nations have already imposed an air travel ban to and from the UK after a faster-spreading mutation of COVID-19 was found in the UK.


Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and now Germany have banned flights coming to and from the UK while a new strain of the Covid-19 virus is being investigated.

The EU governments announced today that they had decided to take tougher measures after the British Prime Minister Boris Johnston said that a new fast-moving variant of the virus had spread across London and Southern England.

Johnson immediately put those regions into a new Tier 4 restriction level, upending Christmas plans for millions. It is believed that the new variant of the virus is 70% more transmissible than existing strains.

However, “there’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” or that vaccines will be less effective against it.

Precautions

Today the Belgian Prime Minister said a ban of 24 hours would be in place starting at midnight tonight. Alexander De Croo said that “there are a great many questions about this new mutation,” he said.

Last night, the World Health Organization tweeted that it was “in close contact with U.K. officials on the new #COVID19 virus variant” and promised to update governments and the public as more is learned.

This evening a meeting of the Irish government has now concluded. It is believed that the three coalition party leaders have decided to announce travel restrictions on flight and ferries arriving into Ireland from Britain. It is likely to come into effect from midnight and remain in place for 48 hours before being reviewed.

Those affected by the upcoming ban have taken to Twitter to express their dismay over restrictions with one user tweeting. “I was supposed to see my mum after 8 months apart. This feels like a nightmare trapped in a recurring nightmare”

Announcement

According to RTE News, officials are still working on details of the ban which is likely to include some exemptions including for essential workers and the delivery of goods.

We don’t yet know the status of those transitioning through Britain on their way home to Ireland but an announcement will be made this evening by the Taoiseach.

Image via AerLingus