Belgium joined the Netherlands in banning air travel from the United Kingdom due to concerns about the new strain of coronavirus.
This step comes after Dutch health authorities confirmed the existence of at least one case of the same kind that pushed London and large parts of southeast England to Return to closing rules.
UK flights to the Netherlands have been suspended, a move that Belgium has reversed while also halting railways.
We are in close contact with UK officials about the new # COVID19 Virus variant. They will continue to share information, the results of their analysis, and ongoing studies. We will be updating member countries and the public as we learn more about the characteristics of this virus variant and any implications.
– World Health Organization (WHO) (WHO) December 19, 2020
The Dutch measures are expected to continue at least until the new year.
On Sunday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Crowe said he had issued the order for 24 hours starting at midnight as a “precaution” and that he hoped for more clarity on Tuesday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it is in “close contact” with the United Kingdom regarding the new mutation of the virus, sharing with them information and analysis results about the new outbreak.
The chief medical officer in England, Professor Chris Whitty, said the UK had notified the International Healthcare Authority of the development after modeling showed rapid spread of the new variant in southeast England.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical leader on the coronavirus, said earlier this week that the strain bore similarities to a species that was initially discovered in mink in Europe.
A new report published by the World Health Organization called for “strengthening” surveillance worldwide in light of recent developments.
The Dutch Ministry of Health said that the case was identified there at the beginning of December and is being investigated.
At the same time, she said, “Any introduction of this viral strain from the United Kingdom should be limited as possible by limiting or controlling passenger movements from the United Kingdom as much as possible.”
The ban on passenger air traffic from the UK began at 6 am today and will apply until January 1 at the latest.
The Dutch government said: “The Cabinet is closely monitoring the developments of the COVID-19 virus abroad and is studying possibilities for additional measures for other transport modes.
“In the coming days, it will consider, in close cooperation with other member states of the European Union, possibilities of further restricting virus imports from the United Kingdom.”
The new strain of the coronavirus – known as VUI-202012/01 – is believed to spread more quickly than the original strain and is believed to be the cause of rapidly rising infection rates in southeast England.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Saturday that the new strain may be “up to 70% more transmissible”.
“While we are certain that this species is transmitted more quickly, there is no evidence to suggest that it is more deadly or causes more serious disease,” he said.
Likewise, there is no evidence to indicate that the vaccine will be less effective against the new variant.
Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific advisor to the UK government, said the new variant is believed to have appeared in the UK in mid-September.
By December, he said, it was responsible for more than 60% of injuries in London.
Mr Johnson declared that millions of people in London and many parts of the southeast would not be permitted to mix with other families at Christmas because they Subject to a new level of restriction from Level 4 From Sunday.