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20 Dec, 2020 00:58

Netherlands bans air travel from Britain till NEXT YEAR over new Covid-19 strain similar to fast-spreading variant in the UK

Netherlands bans air travel from Britain till NEXT YEAR over new Covid-19 strain similar to fast-spreading variant in the UK

The Dutch government has imposed a ban on commercial flights from the UK to the Netherlands after it reported a first case of the new, fast-spreading Covid-19 strain. The ban will be in effect until at least January.

The travel restrictions will apply to all passenger flights from the UK bound to the Netherlands starting 6:00am Sunday local time, the government said in a statement issued several hours before the ban was due to come into force.

It described the sweeping ban on air travel for the whole Christmas period as a “precautionary measure” needed to “limit” potential further exposure of the population to the new strain of the virus, which was first detected in the UK and is allegedly highly contagious.

Also on rt.com ‘Can’t have Christmas as planned’: BoJo tells London, Southeast & Peterborough to STAY HOME over rapid spread of new Covid strain

Citing data by a local health agency, which recommended the ban, the Dutch government revealed that the strain, believed to be the same that prompted UK PM Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown, was detected in the Netherlands “at the beginning of December” as part of a case study.

In light of the situation in the UK, the government said it would “further investigate” the case to determine “how the infection came about” on Dutch soil, and whether there are more cases triggered by the mutant strain.

While suspending only passenger flights for the time being, Amsterdam did not rule out that the ban will be expanded to cover other means of transportation as well.

 The cabinet is closely monitoring the developments related to the Covid-19 virus abroad and is investigating the possibilities for additional measures for other means of transport

The Dutch government has also hinted that more restrictions on UK travellers may be imposed at the European Union level to stem the spread of the desease, stating that it “will look into the possibilities of further restricting import of the virus from the UK” with other members of the bloc “in the coming days.”

The move comes shortly after Johnson effectively cancelled Christmas for those living in London, the Southeast, and the city of Peterborough, placing those areas under so-called Tier 4 restrictions. Those affected by the plan have been barred from “mixing with anyone outside their own household at Christmas,” with Johnson saying the much-feared new strain is to blame for the no-go rule. There’s currently no evidence it’s more lethal or more vaccine-resistant than the earlier variant of the virus, however.

Measures aimed at discouraging travel have had the opposite effect so far. Footage showed London’s rail stations flooded with passengers hoping to get onto the last services and escape the Tier 4 zone before Saturday’s midnight deadline struck. 

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