Denmark bans flights from UK over new Covid-19 strain

Denmark bans flights from UK over new Covid-19 strain
A passenger at Heathrow Airport. File photo: Toby Melville/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
All passenger flights from the United Kingdom to Denmark have been temporarily suspended due to the discovery of a faster-spreading variant of Covid-19.

Denmark is to ban incoming flights from the UK for an initial 48 hours, effective at 10am on Monday.

The decision was made to prevent a new strain of Covid-19 found in the UK from spreading, health minister Magnus Heunicke stated on Twitter.

Several European countries have taken the step to ban UK arrivals over the weekend.

In a statement, the Danish transport ministry said the decision had been made at the advice of health authorities.

“The mutated coronavirus which has quickly spread in London and other parts of England can make it harder to control infections, according to health authorities,” transport minister Benny Engelbrecht wrote in a statement.

“The government has therefore decided to close flights from the United Kingdom for 48 hours so there is time to assess what measures should be taken,” Engelbrecht added.

Denmark’s infectious disease agency SSI said earlier last week that it has discovered nine cases of the new variant in Denmark.

The new variant of the coronavirus is believed to have first appeared in the London and Kent areas of the UK in September, and is reported to be up to 70 percent more contagious than other strains. But based on what scientists know so far, the variant does not appear to cause more serious illness than other kinds of coronavirus.

The variant was cited by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the reason behind last-minute changes to health restrictions in London and South East England, announced on Saturday, which have seen thousands of people unable to travel as planned over Christmas.

Following the UK's announcement on Saturday, the Dutch government announced on Sunday morning that it was banning all flights from the UK until January 1st.

The Belgian, Bulgarian and Italian governments followed suit, with Italy banning all flights from the UK and the entry of anyone who had been in the UK in the last 14 days. France, Germany, Sweden and Ireland have also announced they will suspend UK flights.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Why has the number of Covid-19 cases in Denmark increased so quickly?

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