New virus strains prompt travel restrictions with Britain
More and more countries around the world are restricting travel from Britain and elsewhere amid concerns about new strains of the coronavirus, as their governments analyze test results and try to find ways to protect their populations and hospital systems.
The restrictions focus mainly on Britain, which imposed strict new lockdown measures Saturday night because of what it described as the unusually rapid spread of a new strain there. A few other European countries have confirmed cases of the virus variant, and another strain considered especially infectious has been identified in South Africa.
Here is a look at various restrictions so far:
France: Banned all passenger and cargo traffic from Britain for 48 hours, the toughest restrictions so far. The ban is set to end at midnight Tuesday and applies to flights and traffic via the tunnel beneath the English Channel.
Belgium: The other country that connects with Britain via the tunnel banned all passenger travel, including transit passengers, for 24 hours starting Sunday at midnight.
Germany: No passenger flights from Britain allowed to land through Dec. 31.
Netherlands: Banned flights from the U.K. at least until the new year.
Spain: Will suspend flights from Britain as of Tuesday and until further notice, except for those carrying Spanish citizens or people with Spanish residency. Spain will also step up border controls with Gibraltar, the British colony on Spain’s southwestern coast.
Switzerland: Banned foreign nationals arriving from the U.K. and South Africa and ordered those who arrived since Dec. 14 to go into quarantine.
Italy: Suspending flights from and to Britain until Jan. 6. Also forbids entrance into Italy by anyone who has transited through Britain in the last 14 days.
Russia: Will suspend air traffic with the U.K. for one week starting Tuesday.
Austria: No passenger flights allowed to land from Britain through Jan. 1.
Denmark: Suspended flights from Britain until 0900 GMT Wednesday.
Sweden: Suspended all incoming travel from Britain and Denmark until further notice.
Norway: Banned incoming flights from Britain starting Monday for 48 hours.
Croatia: Announced Sunday night a 48-hour ban on flights from Britain.
Bulgaria: Banned all flights to and from Britain until Jan. 31.
Malta: Banned flights to and from Britain until further notice.
Finland: Suspending flights with Britain; national carrier Finnair ceased all U.K. flights for two weeks.
Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, North Macedonia: Banned flights from Britain until further notice.
Israel: Initially banned flights from Britain, Denmark and South Africa then further tightened restrictions Monday, forbidding any foreign nationals from entering the country for 10 days.
Oman: Suspended all entry to the country by foreigners and halted international passenger flights, starting Tuesday for one week. Cargo flights are exempted.
Saudi Arabia: Suspended all international passenger flights and land and sea arrivals for a week or until clearer details emerged about the more contagious variant of the virus identified in Britain. The suspension will not affect cargo flights and supply chains.
Iran: Suspended flights to the U.K. for two weeks starting Monday. All Iranian planes were ordered to return to Iran from the U.K. without passengers.
Turkey: Suspended flights from Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands and South Africa temporarily, until further notice.
Jordan: Banned flights from the U.K. until Jan. 3, both direct and indirect flights.
Sudan: Banned travelers arriving from Britain, the Netherlands and South Africa, starting Monday and until Jan. 5.
Tunisia: Suspended air links with Britain, South Africa and Australia, from this Monday and until further notice. Anyone who has resided or transited through these countries will not be allowed access to Tunisian territory.
Canada: Banning flights from Britain.
United States: The governor of New York state said he wanted a ban on flights from Britain to New York City.
Peru: Suspended commercial flights from Europe for the next two weeks.
El Salvador: Banned entry to anyone traveling from Britain and South Africa.
Chile: Suspended direct flights with Britain and barred the entry of foreigners who had been in Britain in the past two weeks.
Argentina: Suspended commercial flights to and from Britain.
Hong Kong: Banned all flights from Britain.
Pakistan: Imposed temporary ban on travelers arriving from Britain starting Tuesday and through Dec. 29. Pakistani nationals will be allowed to return home from Britain provided their COVID-19 tests are negative.
India: Suspended flights from Britain until Dec. 31.