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EU to carry disaster talks as international locations block journey from UK over new Covid pressure

EU ambassadors are to carry a disaster assembly in Brussels on Monday to debate journey restrictions on the UK as a number of international locations started closing their doorways to travellers from Britain after the invention of a fast-spreading pressure of Covid-19.

Because the World Well being Group known as on European members to step up measures, Belgium, France, Germany, Eire and the Netherlands on Sunday introduced the suspension of air hyperlinks – and in some circumstances rail and ferry routes – from Britain.

The bans had been principally scheduled to final about 48 hours as a precaution whereas the specter of the brand new pressure was evaluated and a coordinated response labored out at a European stage, nationwide governments mentioned.

An EU official instructed Agence France-Presse that representatives from the 27 member states would meet on Monday below the bloc’s built-in political disaster response mechanism designed to swiftly react to crises.

France mentioned it was suspending passenger and human-handled freight transport coming from the UK to France for 48 hours from midnight, whether or not by highway, air, sea or rail, including that the time could be used to agree on a brand new EU-wide regime.

Germany, which is suspending flights from midnight on Sunday, has not but detected the brand new pressure however is taking reviews from the UK “very significantly”, its well being minister Jens Spahn mentioned.

A German authorities supply mentioned the restriction may very well be adopted by the complete 27-member EU and that international locations had been additionally discussing a joint response over sea, highway and rail hyperlinks with Britain.

The German chancellor Angela Merkel held a convention name with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel concerning the matter.

The Spanish authorities mentioned it had requested the European fee and council to give you a “joint, coordinated response” to the scenario, however that it might “act in defence of the pursuits and rights of Spanish residents” if one was not forthcoming.

Belgium can be suspending flight and Eurostar arrivals from Britain from midnight. The prime minister, Alexander De Croo, mentioned the ban would initially be in place for at the very least 24 hours.

Italy, which mentioned it had detected a affected person contaminated with the brand new pressure of the coronavirus in a affected person who had lately returned from Britain, blocked all flights departing from Britain and barred anybody who had transited by means of the nation within the final 14 days from getting into Italian territory.

The international minister, Luigi Di Maio, mentioned the federal government had determined to behave after the UK raised the alarm concerning the new pressure.

“As a authorities we’ve the responsibility to guard Italians and for that reason, after having warned the British authorities, the well being ministry will signal a provision for the suspension of flights with the UK,” he mentioned. “Our precedence is to defend Italy.”

Austria and Sweden additionally mentioned they had been making ready selections to ban flights from the UK, however had been nonetheless figuring out the small print.

New Covid pressure ‘uncontrolled’, says Matt Hancock – video

The Dutch ban, which got here into impact from 6am native time on Sunday, will final till 1 January. Eire will impose restrictions on flights and ferries from Britain from midnight, whereas Bulgaria is suspending flights from and to the UK from midnight till 31 January. Romania additionally mentioned it banned all flights to and from the UK for 2 weeks beginning on Monday afternoon.

The WHO mentioned it was in shut contact with British officers, and that outdoors the UK 9 circumstances of the brand new pressure had been reported in Denmark, one within the Netherlands and one in Australia. “Throughout Europe, the place transmission is intense and widespread, international locations must redouble their management and prevention approaches,” a spokeswoman for WHO Europe mentioned.

Had been it to proceed into January, the journey disruption might exacerbate transport issues brought on by Brexit as Britain leaves the EU’s single market, which ensures motion inside its borders.

Israel, too, imposed new measures on Sunday, barring entry to non-citizens arriving from the UK, Denmark and South Africa, citing fears about Covid variants. Israeli residents arriving from these international locations must enter isolation at state-run quarantine motels for as much as 14 days.

The rapidly enacted determination led to complicated scenes at Israel’s worldwide airport, the place based on home media about 130 passengers on two flights from London had been knowledgeable of the brand new quarantine necessities on arrival. Police had been known as to the scene after a number of individuals refused, Channel 12 information reported, and 12 determined to return to the UK.

Ellen Metal, a British–Israeli citizen on one of many flights, mentioned she was ordered to board a crowded bus with out being instructed the place she was going. “At Luton, check-in was regular, however then they known as boarding 1.5 hours early. On the gate, they turned everybody away [all non-Israelis] who had a British passport,” she instructed the Instances of Israel.

“After we landed somebody from the well being ministry got here on [the plane] and introduced we’d all should go to motels. If we wished to have a battle about it we might however solely on the resort and never earlier than,” she mentioned. Police escorted the buses, she added.

The UK authorities introduced emergency restrictions after Public Well being England mentioned it had recognized greater than 1,100 circumstances of a brand new variant of coronavirus that could be rushing up the unfold of the virus, notably in south-east England.

AFP and the Related Press contributed to this report

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