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European countries suspend flights with the United Kingdom due to new strain of coronavirus, more contagious and "out of control"

The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Austria have suspended air connections with Great Britain, while Germany, Spain and France are analyzing joining the measure.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.
  • The newly detected variant of the virus is 70% more contagious than the previous ones.
  • WHO called for "tightening controls" to contain the new strain.

This Sunday, several European countries began to suspend flights from the United Kingdom , after British authorities reported a new strain of coronavirus that is more contagious and that is "out of control" in London and southern England.

The Netherlands vetoed passenger flights from the United Kingdom from this Sunday until January 1. Belgium decreed the cessation of air arrivals and rail connections from that country for at least 24 hours. The measure takes effect at midnight on Sunday "as a precaution," Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said .

The prohibition does not include the transport of goods, nor the mobility of health personnel. Several ports remain open, including Rotterdam. However, "preventive controls will be carried out on the roads," said the Belgian president.

Also the Italian government announced that it will suspend flights to UK.

"As a Government we have a duty to protect Italians and for that reason, after having notified the English Government, we are about to sign a measure with the Minister of Health to suspend flights with Great Britain," explained the Italian Foreign Minister , Luigi Di Maio , through social networks. "Our priority is to protect Italy and our countrymen," he added.

Austria also banned flights from the UK from landing. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg assured that it is essential to take measures quickly in this situation. "We have to avoid by all means that this dangerous mutation of the virus is introduced to us ," the official told the APA agency.

For its part, Germany is analyzing limiting flights from Great Britain to prevent the arrival of the strain. A prominent member of the German government said that the flight restrictions were "an option" that was considered seriously, according to statements collected by AFP.

Spain asked Brussels this Sunday for a "coordinated" response regarding flights with the United Kingdom. "The objective is to protect the rights of community citizens from coordination, avoiding unilateralism ," the Spanish government explained in a statement.

Outside the British territory, nine cases were detected in Denmark , one in the Netherlands and one in Australia , according to the WHO , which recommended that its members "increase their [sequencing] capabilities" of the virus, said a spokeswoman for the organization in   Europe.

The European Union called an emergency meeting on Monday to arrange a joint response to the new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Mexico has not commented on the matter nor has the entry of flights from the United Kingdom been restricted. The federal government is expected to communicate its position after the European Union resolutions are known.