LBelgium will ban, as a precaution, flights from the United Kingdom from midnight Sunday for at least 24 hours, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on the De Zevende Dag program on the Eén (VRT). The Netherlands had already enacted such a ban, fearing that a new strain of the coronavirus detected across the Channel and presented as more contagious, could spread on the continent.
Eurostar continues to operate between London and Paris
No Eurostar train will run Monday on the London-Brussels-Rotterdam-Amsterdam line after the decision by Belgium and the Netherlands, the transport company said on Sunday.
Eurostar specifies, however, that trains will continue to run between London and Paris. “We are awaiting more details from the various governments on how the travel restrictions will be enforced,” the company explained on its website.
Italy also suspends flights from UK
Italy will also suspend flights with the United Kingdom, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday.
“As a government we have a duty to protect the Italians and for this reason (…) we are going to sign, with the Minister of Health, a decree to suspend flights with Great Britain”, wrote Mr. Di Maio on his Facebook account, without specifying when this measure would come into force.
“Our priority is to protect Italy and our fellow citizens,” concluded Mr. Di Maio.
Germans and Austrians in the process of …
Germany is “seriously” considering a suspension of flights from the United Kingdom and South Africa, a government source told AFP on Sunday. “Restrictions on air traffic from Great Britain and South Africa are a serious option” currently being examined by Berlin, said this source close to the Ministry of Health.
Austria also “wants to impose” a landing ban on flights from Great Britain. The health ministry announced it to Austrian news agency APA on Sunday. Details are being worked out.
Spain calls for a ‘coordinated’ response from the EU
Spain has asked the European Union for a “coordinated” response on a suspension of flights from the United Kingdom after this discovery of a variant of the coronavirus in this country, the Spanish government announced on Sunday.
“The aim is to protect the rights of European citizens through coordination and avoiding unilateral measures,” the Spanish government said in a statement.
The members of the “European gratin” have consulted
Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel exchanged Sunday to discuss this new strain of the coronavirus circulating in the United Kingdom and which has led several European countries to suspend their flights, said the Elysee.
French and German leaders, the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council have consulted, as the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy announced the suspension of flights and trains with the United Kingdom.
WHO calls on European countries to “strengthen their controls”
The World Health Organization (WHO) calls on its members in Europe to “Strengthen their controls” because of this new variant of the coronavirus, its European branch told AFP on Sunday.
Outside British territory, a handful of cases have been reported in Denmark (9), as well as a case in the Netherlands and Australia according to the WHO, which recommends that its members at the global level “increase their ( de) sequencing ”of the virus before knowing more about the risks posed by the variant, said a spokeswoman.