More than 40 countries have banned UK arrivals because of concerns over the spread of a new variant of coronavirus
Spain, India, Hong Kong, Canada, Switzerland, and Germany are the latest to suspend UK flights.
France has closed its border with the UK for 48 hours, with no lorries or ferry passengers able to sail from the port of Dover.
European Union member states are currently meeting in Brussels to discuss a co-ordinated response, with officials suggesting a requirement for tests could be imposed on all people arriving from the UK.
Other countries to impose a ban on UK arrivals include Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Russia, and Switzerland.
Some of the bans are already in force while others are to begin on Tuesday.
‘High confidence’ new variant spreads more easily
The government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) has upgraded its confidence that the new variant spreads more easily, the group’s chair has said.
Prof Peter Horby told a Science Media Centre briefing: “We now have high confidence that this variant does have a transmission advantage over other virus variants that are currently in the UK.”
Minutes from a meeting on Friday said the group, which advises the UK government, had “moderate confidence” in this.
Another Nervtag member, Prof Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, told the briefing there was strong evidence the new variant is 50% more transmissible than the previous virus.
He also said there was a “hint” the new variant infects children more.
“There are other epidemiologically interesting trends with the virus, there is a hint that it has a higher propensity to infect children… but we haven’t established any sort of causality on that, but we can see that in the data,” he said.
With agency report
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