Countries consider tougher restrictions on UK due to new Covid-19 variant

23 January 2021, 08:36 | Updated: 23 January 2021, 08:40

More countries are restricting or banning travel from the UK
More countries are restricting or banning travel from the UK. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

More countries are considering imposing tougher restrictions on the UK after the Prime Minister’s announcement that the new UK Covid-19 strain could be more deadly.

Ministers have suggested travel restrictions may have to be tightened to combat new variants of Covid-19 with plans to quarantine arriving passengers in hotels.

The Netherlands is among the countries introducing stricter rules on UK arrivals. They are set to ban all passenger flights and ferry travel from the UK tonight, and EU leaders are said to be beginning plans on banning travel from the UK to all member states.

European countries which already have travel restrictions on the UK in place include: Austria, Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Liechenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine.

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Many of these countries either have a total ban on travellers from the UK or have banned travel for all but ‘essential’ reasons.

Current advices only permits foreign travel out of the UK for ‘essential’ reasons.

 European commission president Ursula von der Leyen said member states are “free to impose further-reaching temporary bans on entry and on transporting passengers entering from third countries with virus variant areas”.

The Netherlands is banning all passenger flights and ferries from the UK and Northern Ireland from tonight.

Airline KLM posted on Twitter: “Following the announcement from the Dutch Government of further travel restrictions for passengers arriving into the Netherlands from the UK, KLM has had to make the difficult decision to adapt our flight schedule to ensure all requirements are adhered to.”

All flights to and from the UK to Portugal were suspended on Thursday.