On Sunday, the United Kingdom broke the daily record of coronavirus cases, with 35,928 new cases recorded.
In response, France French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on his official Twitter account on Sunday that he would suspend travel to and from the UK for 48 hours due to “new health risks”. He adds that the suspension starts at midnight local and includes “all transportation”.
Italy It will also suspend flights to and from the UK, according to Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio on Sunday, although he did not say when, or for how long, the ban would start. Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Facebook on Sunday that the country will ban entry to anyone who has been in Britain for the past two weeks.
The Republic of Ireland Flights from Britain are banned on Mondays and Tuesdays. And the Irish government declared in a statement, “For the sake of public health, citizens in Britain, regardless of their nationality, must not travel to Ireland, by air or sea.”
Meanwhile, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Crewe said so Belgium Travelers from the UK will be banned for 24 hours on Monday as a “precaution”, although the ban can be extended if needed.
“As a precaution, we have decided to stop flights from the UK from midnight for 24 hours, and most importantly for our country, do the same for the Eurostar train – because this is actually the main road,” he said, speaking to the Sunday morning news program of the network CNN VRT “De Zevende Dag” People from the UK come to our country. “
The Netherlands Announce a longer ban on all passenger flights from the UK, from Sunday morning through the New Year. The Dutch government said the same type of virus was detected in the Netherlands in a sample case from early December, and it is conducting further investigations to determine if there are any other related cases.
Latvia “The decision has been taken to protect the public from the spread of Covid-19,” Latvian Prime Minister Krishhanis Karisch said on Twitter. She also said that she would suspend travel to and from the UK from December 21 to January 1.
And the Czech Republic The Foreign Ministry announced the imposition of a mandatory 10-day quarantine on anyone arriving from the United Kingdom from Sunday in response to the novel coronavirus strain identified there.
Hancock said the new variant, which can spread faster than other strains but is not more dangerous, must be controlled.
“The only way to do this is to restrict social contacts, and basically, especially in Level 4 areas, everyone needs to act as if they are infected with the virus and this is how we can control it and keep people safe,” he said Sunday.
Strict restrictions on Coronavirus
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that London and large parts of southern and eastern England, where cases are increasing, will enter Level 4 restrictions, similar to the lockdown seen in the spring – just days after he reaffirmed his pledge to relax the rules. During the Christmas period.
Johnson explained that in Tier 4 areas subject to the most severe restrictions, there would be no possibility of home mingling over Christmas. In areas with lower alert levels in England, Scotland and Wales, mixing is now allowed only on Christmas Day.
At a hurried press conference on Saturday, Johnson said the virus strain appears to spread more easily, and may be up to 70% more transmissible than the previous strain.
Medical director Chris Whitty said Saturday that the new substitute is responsible for 60% of infections in London, which nearly doubled in the past week.
As with other new variants or strains of Covid-19, this one carries a genetic footprint that makes it easy to track, and it just so happens to be popular now. This does not mean that the mutation has made it easier to spread, nor does it necessarily mean that this difference is more dangerous.
Many experts in the genetics and epidemiology of viruses note that this may be just a “lucky” strain that has been amplified by a hyperproliferative event; The mutation could somehow cause it to spread more easily without causing more serious disease; Or it could just be a coincidence.
However, the government’s Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Group has also warned that the new strain is a “real cause for concern,” and called for urgent action. Jeremy Farrar said on Twitter: “Research is underway to understand more, but work urgently now is critical. No part of the UK and the world should not care. As is the case in many countries, the situation is fragile.”
Maria Van Kerkhove, a technical officer at the World Health Organization, said today, Sunday, that the new type of Covid-19 virus is originating in southeast England, and has been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia.
She said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), “We understand that this alternative was also recognized in Denmark and the Netherlands, and there was one case in Australia and it did not spread there more.”
Van Kerkhove said that the new variant has been spreading in southeast England “since September”, adding: “We understand that the virus does not cause a disease more serious than the initial information that [the UK] We participated in it, although these studies are underway again to look at patients who are in hospital with this alternative. “
Londoners flee the capital after new restrictions
When asked about the timeframe for the Level 4 restrictions, which have effectively returned parts of the UK to the lockdown seen in the spring, Hancock said Sunday: “Given how quickly this new variant is spreading, it will be very difficult to keep it under control until the vaccine is published. “.
What really matters, Hancock added, “is that people don’t just follow.” [the new Tier 4 measures], But everyone in the level 4 zone acts as if you have the virus to stop its spread to others. (…) We only know that this new variant, you can catch it more easily than there is less virus. “
In response to whether the current measures to protect people, he added, “All the different measures that we apply, we need more of them to control the spread of the new variable than we did to control the spread of the old variable.” Like the use of masks and a base of 2 meters (6.5 feet), it was enough to protect people from the new strain.
However, Londoners rode on trains and highways on Saturday evening as they rushed to leave the capital ahead of the new restrictions announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
By 7 p.m. on Saturday, there were no free seats on trains leaving London from several stations in the capital, the Palestinian News Agency reported. Passengers complained about their inability to socialize themselves inside the train carriages.
Politicians and public health experts condemned the scenes. London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the application of the restrictions as “devastating” in an interview with the BBC, adding that the scenes at London train stations “were a direct result of the chaotic manner in which the announcement was made, and the final stage in which it was made.”
“I understand why people want to go back to see their mothers and fathers and their relationships with the elderly, but I think this is wrong,” he said.
Kerr Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, accused Johnson of “gross negligence” in not acting earlier. Starmer said Labor supported the latest coronavirus restrictions, but criticized the prime minister for waiting until “the eleventh hour” to make a decision.
“It was blatantly clear last week that the prime minister’s plan for a free Christmas for all was a very remote risk,” Starmer said at a press conference on the Internet. “ However, instead of listening to the concerns and taking them seriously, the prime minister did what he always does: turn down the challenge, scrape his hair, and make a rude comment.
“We have learned of the high number of infections and the arrival of the National Health Service to its capacity in many parts of the country for weeks,” he said. “Alarm bells have been ringing for weeks, but the prime minister chose to ignore them.”
“It was an act of gross negligence by the prime minister who once again fell behind the curve,” he said.
Arnaud Siyad, James Frater, Ivana Kotasova and Nicolas Rotolo contributed to the report.