The new strain was observed as early as September of this year, and it has been found to spread 70% faster than earlier variants, with authorities believing it to be responsible for the surges in London and surrounding areas. Despite these concerns, health experts are confident the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna should still be effective.
The issue is waiting and protecting populations until the vaccine can be fully distributed.
Travel between Britain and other countries was already difficult, but the news has led many countries to outright ban travel to the U.K. temporarily.
Here are the countries that have already banned travel to the U.K., and how long some of them plan to keep the ban in place.
NOTE: Most bans have been put in place as of Dec. 21.
- Morocco banned all travelers from the U.K.
- India has stopped all flights from the U.K until Dec. 31
- Hong Kong has banned all flights from the U.K.; anyone who has traveled from the U.K. will need to quarantine for up to 21 days
- Russia has suspended all flights to and from the U.K. for a week
- Austria has instituted an indefinite ban
- Belgium has instituted a 24-hour travel ban, but further plans will be announced on Dec. 22.
- Bulgaria has suspended all flights from the U.K. until Jan. 31
- Denmark has suspended flights for 48 hours
- Estonia has banned all flights from the U.K. until Jan. 31
- Finland has banned all travelers from the U.K.
- France has banned all forms of travel from the U.K. for 48 hours
- Germany has instituted an indefinite ban
- Ireland has banned all flights and boats from the U.K. for 48 hours
- Italy has banned air travel from the U.K. until Jan. 6, as well as anyone who has traveled through the nation within the previous two weeks
- Malta has suspended all flights to and from the U.K. indefinitely
- The Netherlands has banned flights until Jan. 1
- Norway has suspended flights for 48 hours
- Latvia has banned all flights from the U.K. until Jan. 31
- Lithuania has banned all flights from the U.K. until Jan. 31
- Portugal has only restricted travel for all travelers except for Portuguese citizens and residents; others may enter the country after presenting a negative COVID test
- Sweden is preparing a ban, but the details are unclear
- Switzerland has banned all travelers arriving from the U.K. and South Africa
- Israel has ordered a blanket ban on air travel
- Jordan has suspended all travel to and from the U.K. until Jan. 3
- Kuwait has suspended all nonessential travel, and it will further restrict all travel until Jan. 1
- Oman has closed all borders
- Saudi Arabia has suspended all international travel for a week
- Turkey has suspended all flights from the U.K. as well as those from Denmark and the Netherlands
- Canada has banned all flights for 72 hours
- El Salvador has banned travelers who have been in the U.K. within the previous 30 days
- Argentina has banned all travelers from the U.K.
- Colombia has banned all travelers from the U.K.
- Chile banned all travelers from the U.K.