Europe cuts its links with the United Kingdom

A few hours before the closure of the borders with Europe, last departures from Saint-Pancras station, in London, on December 20.

Without waiting for consultation, the member states of the European Union (EU) took the decision, Sunday, December 20, to suspend transport to and from the United Kingdom in a disaster, after the discovery of a change in the Covid-19 circulating ” out of control “ on part of British territory. The statements, the day before, by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to which the virus present in London and in the south-east of England is up to 70% more contagious than the previous strain, sowed the beginning of panic in a few days of the Christmas holidays, already subject to re-containment measures in several countries.

On Monday morning, the ambassadors of the Twenty-Seven are scheduled to consult in Brussels on these new travel restrictions, after the meeting of the IPCR, the EU’s integrated mechanism for a reaction at the political level in crisis situations. In particular, they could discuss measures such as PCR tests for travelers arriving from across the Channel. The European Disease Control Agency (ECDC), which includes around 30 countries including EU members and the United Kingdom, has however “Not excluded” that the SARS-CoV-2 variant is already circulating outside UK territory. A handful of cases were also reported in Denmark (nine), one in the Netherlands and another in Australia, according to the World Health Organization. Sunday evening, Italy also announced that it had detected a first case of contamination by the new strain at the Celio military hospital in Rome, with a patient who had recently returned from Great Britain.

The first, the Dutch government announced the suspension until 1er January, of all passenger flights from the United Kingdom after the discovery in early December of a case of contamination ” corresponding to the variant described in the United Kingdom ‘, according to the ministry of health. As a precaution, the Stena Line and Eurostar companies, which operate between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, have themselves adopted restrictive measures, and Eurostar traffic to Amsterdam has been interrupted, after the decision ” taken by the Belgian government to close the border with the United Kingdom ”.

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Belgium has in fact also suspended air and rail links from the United Kingdom from midnight Sunday for at least twenty-four hours. Then, in turn, these decisions, taken a few hours after the announcement by the British government of the re-containment of London and the south-east of England in an attempt to stem a surge in contaminations attributed to the new strain of the virus, have been followed in dispersed order. Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, France, or even Luxembourg, have thus announced the temporary shutdown of their air and, sometimes, rail and sea links with the Kingdom -United.

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