The Netherlands is banning all passenger flights coming from the UK from Sunday morning till the brand new yr so as to reduce the chance of the brand new pressure from spreading within the the nation “as a lot as potential”, the federal government stated in a press launch.
The Dutch authorities stated the identical variant of the virus had been detected within the Netherlands in a pattern from a case from early December, and that it’s conducting additional investigations to find out if there are every other associated circumstances.
In the meantime, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated that Belgium will block vacationers from the UK for twenty-four hours on Monday as a “precautionary measure,” although the ban may very well be prolonged if essential.
“As a precautionary measure, we’ve determined to cease flights from the UK from midnight for a interval of 24 hours, and simply as importantly for our nation, to do the identical for the Eurostar (practice) — as a result of that is really the principle manner that folks from the UK come into our nation,” he stated, talking to CNN affiliate VRT’s Sunday morning information program “De Zevende Dag.”
Italy can even droop flights to and from the UK, based on Overseas Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio on Sunday, who didn’t say when the ban would come into place, or for a way lengthy. The Czech Republic imposed a compulsory 10-day quarantine on anybody arriving from the UK beginning Sunday in response to the brand new coronavirus pressure recognized there, the Overseas Ministry introduced.
Hancock stated the brand new variant, which might unfold quicker than different strains however just isn’t extra harmful, needed to be managed.
“The one manner you are able to do that’s by proscribing social contacts and primarily, particularly in Tier 4 areas, everyone must behave as if they could properly have the virus and that’s the manner that we will get it beneath management and preserve folks secure,” he stated Sunday.
Powerful coronavirus restrictions
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday broke the information that London and enormous components of southern and jap England, the place circumstances are surging, would enter Tier 4 restrictions, just like the lockdown seen in Spring — simply days after reiterating his pledge to chill out guidelines over the Christmas interval.
Johnson outlined that in Tier 4 areas beneath the hardest restrictions, there will likely be no risk for family mixing over Christmas. In areas beneath decrease alert ranges in England, Scotland and Wales, mixing will now be permitted solely on Christmas Day.
In a unexpectedly referred to as Saturday press convention, Johnson stated that the pressure of the virus seems to unfold extra simply, and could also be as much as 70% extra transmissable than the sooner pressure.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty stated on Saturday that the brand new variant is accountable for 60% of infections in London, which have almost doubled within the final week.
As with different new variants or strains of Covid-19, this one carries a genetic fingerprint that makes it simple to trace, and it occurs to be one that’s now frequent. That doesn’t imply the mutation has made it unfold extra simply, nor does it not essentially imply this variation is extra harmful.
A number of specialists within the genetics and epidemiology of viruses are noting that this one may very well be only a “fortunate” pressure that is been amplified due to a superspreader occasion; it may very well be the mutation by some means makes it unfold extra simply with out inflicting extra severe sickness; or it might simply be by likelihood.
Nonetheless, the federal government’s scientific advisory group for Covid-19 has additionally warned the brand new pressure is a “actual trigger for concern,” and referred to as for pressing motion. On Twitter, Jeremy Farrar stated, “Analysis is ongoing to know extra, however performing urgently now’s vital. There is no such thing as a a part of the UK & globally that shouldn’t be involved. As in lots of international locations, the scenario is fragile.”
The brand new variant of Covid-19 originates in southeast England and has been recognized in Denmark, the Netherlands and in Australia, World Well being Group Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove stated on Sunday.
“We perceive that this variant has been recognized additionally in Denmark, within the Netherlands and there was one case in Australia and it did not unfold additional there,” she stated in an interview with the BBC.
Van Kerkhove stated the brand new variant had been circulating in southeast England “since September,” including: “We perceive that the virus doesn’t trigger extra extreme illness from the preliminary data that [the UK] shared with us, though once more these research are underway to have a look at hospitalized sufferers with this variant.”
Londoners flee capital following new restrictions
When requested concerning the timeframe of the Tier 4 restrictions, which successfully put components of the UK again into the lockdown seen in Spring, Hancock stated Sunday: “Given how a lot quicker this new variant spreads, it is going to be very tough to maintain it beneath management till we’ve the vaccine rolled out.”
Hancock added what actually mattered “is that folks not solely observe [the new Tier 4 measures], however everyone in a Tier 4 space act as in case you have the virus to cease spreading it to different folks. (…) We simply know that this new variant, you possibly can catch it extra simply from a smaller quantity of the virus being current.”
“The entire totally different measures we’ve in place, we want extra of them to regulate the unfold of the brand new variant than we did to regulate the unfold of the outdated variant,” he added, in response as to if present measures to guard folks, equivalent to the usage of masks and the 2-meter rule (6.5 ft), was sufficient to guard folks from the brand new pressure.
Nonetheless, Londoners piled on to trains and motorways on Saturday evening as they rushed to depart the capital forward of latest restrictions introduced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
By 7 p.m. on Saturday night, there have been no free seats on trains leaving London from a number of stations within the capital, PA Media reported. Passengers complained about not having the ability to socially distance themselves inside the practice carriages.
The scenes had been condemned by politicians and public well being specialists. London Mayor Sadiq Khan referred to as the introduction of the restrictions “devastating” in an interview with the BBC, including that scenes at London practice stations “was a direct consequence of the chaotic manner the announcement was made, and the late stage it was made.”
“I perceive why folks need to return to see their mums, dads, aged relations, however I believe it is improper,” he stated.
Keir Starmer, chief of the opposition Labour Social gathering, accused Johnson of “gross negligence” in failing to behave earlier. Starmer stated Labour supported the most recent coronavirus restrictions, however criticized the PM for ready till the “eleventh hour” to take a choice.
“It was blatantly apparent final week that the Prime Minister’s plan for a free-for-all over Christmas was a danger too far,” Starmer advised an internet press convention. “And but, somewhat than listening to considerations and taking them critically, the Prime Minister did what he all the time does: dismissed the problem, ruffled his hair and made a flippant remark.
“We’ve recognized about rising infections and the NHS reaching capability in lots of components of the nation for weeks. The alarms bells have been ringing for weeks, however the Prime Minister selected to disregard them,” he stated.
“It’s an act of gross negligence by a Prime Minister who, as soon as once more, has been caught behind the curve,” he stated.
Arnaud Siad and James Frater contributed reporting.