Over the weekend, the United Kingdom canceled plans to ease Christmas restrictions and announced strict blockades in much of the country, citing concerns about a variant of the coronavirus that is believed to be more infectious.
The alarm over the new variant, which was first identified in the south-east of England, led to the elimination of British travelers from much of Europe and other parts of the world as countries imposed restrictions on travel in the UK.
Although the new variant of Covid-19 is believed to have its origins in England, it has also been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, said on Sunday the technical leader of the World Health Organization Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove. Researchers are investigating a similar variant of the virus in South Africa, causing additional travel restrictions there.
Remember: There is no evidence that the new variants are more virulent, which means that they do not cause more severe diseases. They do not appear to affect the effects of treatments or the protection provided by vaccines
Here is a list of countries that have banned travel from the UK so far:
- Russia: Russia suspends flights to and from the UK for a week starting at midnight, Moscow time on December 22, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reportedly quoted the Russian coronavirus response site.
- Jordan: The government has decided to suspend all direct and indirect (transit) passenger flights in the United Kingdom from Monday until 3 January. The news was announced in a statement by Jordanian government spokesman and state media minister Ali Al-Ayed
- Oman: Oman will close its air, sea and land borders from Tuesday, December 22, for a period of one week, to monitor the new variant of coronavirus reported by the United Kingdom, The Oman State News Agency reported.
- Argentine: According to a joint statement issued on Sunday by the Argentine Ministries of Health and Interior, Argentina will only allow one more flight from the UK to land at Buenos Aires International Airport on Monday morning. Subsequent flights were canceled.
- Belgium: Belgium will block travel to the United Kingdom on Monday because of the coronavirus variant that appeared there, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Sunday morning.
- Bulgaria: Prime Minister Boyko Borissov convened a working meeting with members of his cabinet on Sunday in response to the new option, in which it was decided to temporarily suspend air travel between Bulgaria and the United Kingdom from Monday to January 31, his office said.
- Canada: Canada says it will ban most UK travelers from midnight on Sunday for at least 72 hours. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the news in a tweet on Sunday night, saying it was done to “protect” Canadians across the country.
- Chile: The Chilean government has announced that all flights to and from the UK will be suspended from Tuesday and that passengers who have been in the UK for the past 14 days will have to self-quarantine.
- Colombia: Colombian President Ivan Duque has similarly announced that all flights between Colombia and the United Kingdom will be suspended from Monday. Travelers who have been in the UK for the past 14 days will also have to self-quarantine upon entering Colombia, Duque told reporters.
- Czech Republic: The Czech government has been shutting down flights in the UK since 6am ET in response to the new coronavirus variant in the UK, a government statement said Monday.
- Savior: El Salvador bans anyone entering the country from the UK and South Africa.
- Estonia: The Estonian government announced on Sunday a suspension of air traffic between Estonia and the United Kingdom, which will take effect at midnight by the end of the year.
- France: French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced a 48-hour ban on the movement of people from the UK to France starting Sunday evening and applying to all methods of transport.
- Germany: The German government has said it intends to restrict travel to and from the UK and South Africa due to the new coronavirus variant.
- Hong Kong: Hong Kong will ban all passengers who have stayed in the UK for more than two hours in the last 14 days from arriving in the city on Tuesday, Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan told a news conference on Monday.
- Iran: Iran announced on Sunday the suspension of flights to and from the United Kingdom for two weeks.
- Israel The Israeli government bans flights from the UK, Denmark and South Africa.
- Italy: Italy is suspending flights between the country and the United Kingdom due to the new Covid-19 variant identified in England, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio announced on Sunday.
- Kuwait: Kuwait has suspended flights arriving from the United Kingdom since Monday.
- Latvia: Latvia has suspended travel to and from the UK from December 21 to January 1, the Latvian Ministry of Transport announced on Sunday.
- Lithuania: Fighting in Britain will be suspended, the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
- Luxembourg: Luxembourg has temporarily suspended flights from the United Kingdom after a new coronavirus variant was found there, according to a government statement on Sunday.
- Netherlands: The Netherlands will ban all passenger flights coming from the United Kingdom.
- Republic of Ireland: The Republic of Ireland bans flights from the UK on Monday and Tuesday, the government announced on Sunday.
- Peru: Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti announced a two-week ban on flights arriving from Europe to a national address on Monday morning. Sagasti also banned foreigners from coming to Peru if they have been in the United Kingdom for the past two weeks.
- Sweden: Sweden bans travel to the United Kingdom, the country’s foreign minister said on Sunday.
- Turkey: Turkey has banned flights from the UK, South Africa, the Netherlands and Denmark, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported late Sunday.
The following countries have not banned travel, but impose restrictions:
- Greece: Greece will impose a 7-day quarantine on all passengers arriving from the UK from Monday due to concerns about the new Covid-19 variant identified in the UK, Greece’s Civil Protection Department announced on Sunday.
- Portugal: Portugal has imposed restrictions on flights from the UK. Only Portuguese citizens will be allowed to travel and must have a negative Covid-19 test, according to the country’s interior minister.
- Spain: Spain has announced it is stepping up airports to check PCR tests for people arriving from the UK, according to a government tweet on Sunday.
Scientists Walter Reed in the United States still expect the vaccine to be effective against this new variant, said Dr. Nelson Michael, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at the Walter Reed Army Research Institute. Scientists Walter Reed said he expects to know in the coming days if there is concern that coronavirus vaccines may not work against it.