India on Monday, December 21, became the latest country to temporarily suspend all flights originating from the UK to the country until 11.59 pm, December 31 in the wake of a new strain of COVID-19 that has swept parts of southern England.
Taking to Twitter, the civil aviation ministry announced that the order is slated to come into effect from 11.59 pm, December 22, adding that anyone arriving on transit flights via the UK before December 22, 23:59 hours will be subject to mandatory RTPCR test on arrival at all Indian airports.
Considering the prevailing situation in UK. Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020 (23.59 hours).— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) December 21, 2020
This suspension to start w.e.f. 23.59 hours, 22nd December 2020. Consequently flights from India to UK shall stand temporarily suspended during above said period.— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) December 21, 2020
As a measure of abundant precaution, passengers arriving from UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which are reaching India before 22nd Dec at 23.59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the airports concerned.— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) December 21, 2020
Meanwhile, several other countries in Europe and around the world have also started imposing bans on flights and travellers from the UK. The European and other nations have done so in an attempt to ensure that the new strain of coronavirus doesn't reach their shores.
Also Read: India suspends flights from UK till Dec 31
Announcing the lockdown on December 19, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said that Britain was dealing with a new coronavirus strain which is up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original. Although Johnson and his scientific advisors believe vaccines will still be effective, and the new strain is not more deadly or more serious in terms of the illness caused, he said that the government had to take urgent action.
The number of cases in England has soared over the last few weeks because of the virus variant.
Below mentioned are the countries that have announced travel bans so far: -
France - France on Sunday, December 20, banned all travel from Britain. French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari took to Twitter to announce that the country was suspending all flights from the UK for 48 hours from Sunday midnight. This includes journeys "related to goods transported by road, air, sea, or rail."
Ireland- Dublin said in a statement that all flights from Britain would be banned from Sunday midnight for at least 48 hours. However, ferries will continue to operate to let freight to be shipped between the two nations, Irish transport secretary Eamon Ryan said.
Germany- The western European country halted all air links with the UK from midnight on Sunday, December 20, with the ban initially slated to continue until December 31, Health Minister Jens Spahn told ARD public television. However, cargo flights will be exempt. Meanwhile, a government source told AFP that Berlin is already "working on measures" to extend the flight suspension into January.
Belgium- Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told television channel VRT that all plane and train travel from the UK to Belgium will be suspended for at least 24 hours from Sunday midnight.
Austria- The country's health ministry said on Sunday that Vienna is working on details for a flight ban on travel from the UK.
Romania- The southeastern European country has banned flights to and from the UK for two weeks, effective from Monday afternoon.
Latvia- The country has banned all bus and ferry passenger traffic to and from Britain. The bans will be effective from Monday and last until the end of the year.
Bulgaria- The Balkan nation said that flights to and from Britain would be suspended from Sunday midnight until January 31. The government had earlier announced a 10-day quarantine for anybody arriving from Britain.
Croatia- The Republic of Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the country would "temporarily suspend passenger air traffic from the UK for 48 hours."
Finland- Transport licensing agency Traficom announced on Sunday that all passenger flights from the UK will not be permitted to land in Finland for two weeks, starting at midday on Monday.
Netherlands-The Dutch government announced that all passenger flights from the UK to the Netherlands have been banned until January 1. The country's health ministry said one case of the new virus variant was detected in the country in early December.
Switzerland- The central European country has suspended flights from Britain and South Africa, where a similar virus variant has been found, from Sunday midnight "until further notice."
Sweden- The country's interior minister Mikael Damberg told public broadcaster SVT that Sweden was "preparing" to bar people coming from Britain "as quickly as possible", with an official decision likely on Monday.
Italy- The country has banned flights from the UK from Sunday until January 6, as Italy discovered a case of the new strain in a hospital in Rome. Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza also said that he had signed an order "which blocks flights from Great Britain and prohibits entry into Italy of people who have stayed there during the last 14 days."
Canada- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would ban all UK flights for 72 hours. Taking to Twitter, Trudeau added that people who had already arrived from Britain on Sunday will have to undergo secondary screenings and "advance measures."
Turkey- The country's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that flights from the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and South Africa would be suspended.
Iran- The western Asian country's health ministry has suspended flights from Britain for two weeks, state news agency IRNA reported.
El Salvador- The central American country's President Nayib Bukele said on Twitter that those who have been in the UK or South Africa in the past 30 days will not be permitted to enter the country.
Kuwait- The country has added Britain to a list of "high-risk" countries and banned flights arriving from the nation as well. "Commercial flights from the United Kingdom are added to the ban list of countries ... prohibited to enter the State of Kuwait," the Kuwaiti civil aviation authority said on Twitter on Sunday, without giving a duration for the ban.
Saudi Arabia- The country announced on Sunday that it was banning all flights and suspending entry through its land and sea ports for at least a week, with the choice to extend the same for a further week. Passengers arriving in Saudi Arabia from Europe, or any country where the new strain was found, starting December 8, will be required to isolate themselves for two weeks and undergo testing.
Israel- The country has banned entry to foreign nationals travelling from the UK, Denmark, and South Africa. A joint statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and the health ministry also announced imposition of tough rules on Israelis returning home from the said countries, saying they would be confined to army-run hotels serving as isolation centres.