The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was in “constant contact” with British officials about the emergence of a new strain of the coronavirus.
This strain spreads faster than the original form of the virus, although it is not considered more deadly.
The same mutation has also been found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia, the WHO told the BBC.
There is no evidence, however, that the new strain reacts differently to vaccines.
In the United Kingdom, much of the south-east of England, including London, is now under tighter restraint in an effort to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
“It was out of control”
It is noted that the British Minister of Health Matt Hancock stated today that the new executive was “out of control”, in order to justify the imposition of quarantine in London and in a part of England, which, according to him, could last until vaccines become more widely available.
“Unfortunately, the new executive was out of control. “We had to regain control and the only way to do that was to limit social contacts,” Hancock told Sky News.
Netherlands and Belgium suspend flights from Britain
On Sunday, the Netherlands decided to ban flights from the United Kingdom until 1 January due to the new executive.
The decision came after some tests carried out in the Netherlands earlier in December identified the same strain that has appeared in the United Kingdom.
Awaiting “more information” on the situation in the United Kingdom, the Dutch government said that “further spread of this strain in the Netherlands should be minimized as much as possible”.
In addition, flights and train services from Britain will be suspended by Belgium from midnight on Sunday (01.00 Greek time).
For his part, Prime Minister Alexander de Croes told VRT that the suspension would last at least 24 hours.
Suspension of flights from Germany and France is also being considered
The possibility of suspending flights from the United Kingdom and South Africa (where the variant of the virus has also been identified) is being “seriously” considered by Germany, a government source told AFP today.
“Air traffic restrictions from Britain and South Africa are a serious choice,” said a source close to the German health ministry, who is currently considering Berlin.
Finally, France is considering the possibility of suspension for both flights and train services, while the official decision of the French authorities is expected later today, as reported by BFM without citing its sources.
Ministry of Transport officials are not currently available for comment.
Source: BBC, AFP, Reuters, ΑΠΕ – ΜΠΕ