Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov expressed concern about the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in the UK, which is causing many countries to begin to cut off flights to the United Kingdom.
“Belgium has suspended flights from the UK due to a new, more aggressive type of coronavirus discovered there. Germany, Italy, France are close to making the same decision. The development of events is alarming for us, since there is air communication with Britain, ”he wrote on his Telegram channel.
The head of the British Ministry of Health, Matt Hancock, announced on December 14 that a new, mutated version of the coronavirus had been identified in the country. At that time, about 1,000 infections with the new strain were noted in the south of the country.
On December 19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strain identified in the south of Great Britain is more infectious. According to the politician, the initial signs of the spread of the new variant of the virus indicate that it is 70% more infectious than the original strain.
At the same time, Johnson clarified that there is no evidence that the new version of the infection is more deadly or causes a more serious disease. On the same day, Johnson announced the tightening of restrictive measures in London and in the south of the country due to the spread of infection.
Government adviser Sir Patrick Wallan, in turn, noted that the new strain of coronavirus is rapidly spreading and becoming “dominant.” He noted that this strain has 23 differences from the previous one.
After information about the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, a number of EU countries have suspended air and railway communication with Britain or have thought about it.
Thus, the Dutch authorities have decided to ban passenger flights between the countries from December 20 to January 1, The Guardian reports, citing the country’s Ministry of Health.
The possibility of suspending flights and rail links with the UK is also being considered in France, Austria, Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany.
“As a government, we have a duty to protect Italians, for this reason, after notifying the British government with the Ministry of Health, we are going to sign a flight suspension regulation with the UK,” Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
The Belgian TV channel VTR, citing the country’s authorities, reports that Belgium is closing borders for travelers from Great Britain for the next 24 hours.
Earlier on the same day, the BBC, citing a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO), reported that a new mutated variant of the coronavirus, previously identified in the UK, was also found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.