With reports that the UK has a third mutated strain of coronavirus spreading rapidly throughout the country, many leaders have banned travel from the stricken country, effectively cutting them off from the rest of the world.
In an attempt to stop the virus spreading throughout the world and causing more havoc on countries that are already under increasing pressure, flights from the country have been banned, stopping anyone from landing on their shores.
This has meant chaos for many who wanted to get away for the festive season or just return home to their families.
Currently more than 40 countries or territories have imposed the ban and it is believed many more are considering joining the list. This means that the majority of flights, ferries and rail travel have been stopped with many restrictions in place until January 6.
This follows moves from the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to place over 24 million citizens into tier 4, the UK’s highest level of lockdown. The restriction comes into force from Boxing Day with no news of when it will be lifted, with residents in those areas only allowed to leave their homes for necessities such as food shopping. They are no longer allowed to mix with other households either inside or outside, however they can meet up with one person from another household but this is only outside and at a distance, a move many believe is to help the mental health of many of the people who live alone.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own restrictions in place.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also advised that restrictions should be imposed on any international travel from the UK.
As well as borders being closed movement has been restricted and some countries are enforcing last minute quarantine rules, meaning those that have been able to travel are being contained to one area rather than enjoying their vacation or family time.
The FCO have confirmed they were looking at ways they could support any British nationals who have been affected by the new rules.
The World Health Organization (WHO) have been informed about the new strain of the virus which has seen cases in England increase to levels seen at the beginning of the pandemic. The new variant has also been found in a further six countries.
A report has claimed that scientists believe this new strain will be the dominant variant as it is nearly 70% more infectious than previous variants.
It is still unclear whether the new variant is UK born, there have been reports that it has come from South Africa, however it was UK scientists who first discovered it. Despite the uncertainty, borders around the world have closed to the island after they confirmed it had ‘run wild’ throughout the southern part of the country.
One of the biggest issues with border closures was the French/UK border. Thousands of haulage drivers have been stranded on a motorway near the Kent port of Dover after French officials closed the Channel Tunnel earlier in the week. Although French authorities have since allowed the border to be reopened they have insisted that anyone crossing has a negative Covid-19 test. As these can take around 30 minutes for a result there are still thousands of drivers who cannot get home to their families for Christmas. This has also caused concern about food deliveries to the UK and potential shortages over the coming days.
Elsewhere in Europe Germany has banned any travel from the UK by air, train, road or ship until at least January 6. This does not include freight, mail, medical or humanitarian travel.
Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Austria and Denmark have also suspended UK arrivals, as have Sweden, Norway, Croatia, Bulgaria, Finland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Luxembourg.
Meanwhile Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, North Macedonia, Estonia, Morocco and Slovakia have banned flights from the UK until further notice.
Ireland, the UK’s closest neighbor, has banned all flights until New Year’s Eve although they are allowing Irish residents and any Irish-bound passengers who have been stranded in transit in the UK.
The Middle East has also implemented restrictions on the country – and others – with Israel banning flights from Britain, Denmark and South Africa quickly followed by a ban on all foreign nationals entering the country.
Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey have all banned foreign nationals entering the country and have even banned international flights for the time being. However Iran also took the step to demand any Iranian planes in the UK to return home without any passengers. Jordan and Kuwait have also implemented restrictions on flights.
Countries in Africa have gone slightly further with some countries such as Sudan banning travel from Britain, the Netherlands and South Africa, Tunisia have included Australia in their ban while Mauritius has denied anyone who has traveled within the UK within the last two weeks.
Canada has banned all flights while America, who has had bans in place for the majority of non-US citizens, is still debating on a total ban.
Paraguay, Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Grenada, Chile, Argentina, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Pakistan, India, Japan and Singapore have also implemented restrictions while it is believe many more will make announcements in the coming days.