Several countries have barred passenger flights from the UK amid the discovery of a new fast-moving strain of novel coronavirus in the country.
The countries to ban travel from the UK on Sunday include Austria, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands, Ireland, and France while Germany reported being considering similar moves.
While the World Health Organization (WHO), keeping an eye on the latest development has said that it is keeping close contact with UK officials on the new COVID-19 virus variant.
“They’ll continue to share info & results of their analysis & ongoing studies. We’ll update the Member States & the public as we learn more about the characteristics of this virus variant & any implications”, WHO added in its statement.
The Dutch government in a statement said, “An infectious mutation of the COVID-19 virus is circulating in the United Kingdom. It is said to spread more easily and faster and is more difficult to detect”.
The ban by the Dutch authorities, which came into effect from 6 a.m. local time on Sunday, would last till January 1.
Austria said it would also halt flights from the UK but there were no immediate details on the timing of the ban, reports news agency APA.
As being reported Ireland has placed restrictions on flights and ferries to the UK that will last for an initial 48 hours before being reviewed during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, told a news television channel that the ban would be in place for at least 24 hours.
According to the media reports, Germany will ban all flights from the UK from midnight until January 6.
The development comes as millions of people in the UK began their first day of a newly-imposed lockdown.
While the British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said the newly identified strain was “out of control”.