Growing list of EU countries suspend UK flights amid new virus strain fears

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Madrid Desk, Dec 20 (efe-epa).- The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy were among a growing list of European Union countries that on Sunday decided to ban flights from the United Kingdom amid concerns about a contagious new strain of the coronavirus that has emerged in southern England.

The Dutch health ministry said in a statement Sunday that the same strain had been observed in a sample in the Netherlands in early December.

“This strain of the virus is thought to spread more easily and more quickly and is also harder to detect,” the statement ran.

The country’s institute for public health and the environment (RIVM) recommended new measures to minimize the risk of the new strain of the virus entering the Netherlands.

In light of this, the government decided to implement a ban on flights carrying passengers from the UK until 1 January.

The ban does not include trade workers or health workers, and the country’s ports, including Rotterdam, will remain in operation.

“The government wishes to emphasize once again that traveling abroad carries a substantial risk of spreading coronavirus. Do not travel unless it is absolutely essential,” the health ministry said in the statement.

It added that the government would work closely with other European Union nations to study further possible measures to limit the spread of the new strain of the Covid-19-causing virus in the UK.

Belgium also decided to halt air traffic and train services coming in from the UK for at least 24 hours, prime minister Alexander de Croo told VRT TV.

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