The Netherlands bans flights from the UK for at least the rest of the year to ensure a new strain of coronavirus that is spreading across southern England does not reach its coast.
The ban went into effect on Sunday morning and the government said it was reacting to tougher measures British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed in London and the surrounding area on Saturday. The Netherlands said they would “look into ways with other European Union countries to curb imports of the virus from the UK”.
Johnson said a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70% more transmissible than existing strains appears to be fueling the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England.
“There is no evidence that it is more deadly or causes more serious illness,” said the prime minister, or that vaccines are less effective against it.
The Dutch government already strongly advises its citizens not to travel unless clearly necessary.
The UK has alerted the World Health Organization that the new variant identified this week appears to be accelerating the spread of COVID-19. It accounted for about 60% of the cases in the capital.
Viruses mutate regularly, and scientists have found thousands of different mutations in samples of the virus that cause COVID-19. However, many of these changes don’t affect how easily the virus spreads or how severe the symptoms are.
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