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The Netherlands, Belgium and Austria on Sunday banned flights from the U.K. and Germany to prevent a new strain of coronavirus that’s sweeping across southern England.
The Netherlands banned flights from the U.K. for at least the rest of the year while Belgium issued a flight ban for 24 hours starting at midnight and also halted train links to Britain, including the Eurostar.
Austria said it would also halt flights from the U.K. but there were no immediate details on the timing of the ban,.
The Czech Republic also imposed stricter quarantine measures from people arriving from the U.K.
The five EU governments responded with tougher restrictions following imposed new Tier 4 level of restrictions in areas of Southern England.
Italy also plans to suspend flights to and from the U.K. over concerns about the new coronavirus strain, its Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio announced Sunday afternoon local time.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Sunday said he was issuing the flight ban for 24 hours starting at midnight “out of precaution.”
The World Health Organization tweeted late Saturday that, “We’re in close contact with U.K. officials on the new #COVID19 virus variant.” It promised to update governments and the public as more is learned about this variant.