UK to hold emergency meeting amid travel, freight bans
More than 20 countries halt flights and lorries from the UK, chaos across border expected
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to chair an emergency meeting following a series of restrictions from European states on flights, travel and accompanied freight from the UK.
Johnson will chair the meeting that will decide next steps against the new variant of the coronavirus.
Around 20 countries including Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Turkey and Canada have banned all flights from the UK on Sunday and more countries are expected to follow suit due to concerns over a new fast-moving coronavirus strain.
As France stops all flights and freight from the UK for 48 hours, miles of lorry queues are predicted in Kent region on Monday, in a development what would look like a hard Brexit normality under strict EU regulations and checks.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday that he will be in talks with French officials over the freight ban.
The sudden halt on flights left thousands of people returning back from major airports on Sunday.
Coronavirus cases across the UK rose by 35,928 on Sunday as the officials said the new variant spreads 70% faster. The rise came with the fast increase in London, south-east and east of England recorded in last week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new variant is “getting out of control”.
British government last week had said people across the country would be able to travel to visit the loved ones in the week running up to Christmas and 3 households would be able to mix between Dec 23-27.
Bur in a sharp and sudden move on Saturday, Prime Minister Johnson introduced a new Tier 4 – which is very similar to a full lockdown – for millions of people after saying the new variant causes a big rise in cases. He reduced Christmas mixing to only 1 day, the Christmas day itself.
The new restrictions mean strict travel ban within the UK, where a 4-tier system is in place at the moment.
The death toll in pandemic stands at 67,401 in the UK at the moment, the worst in Europe.