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Dutch ban UK flights, fearing the new coronavirus variant – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2020-12-20 03:47:08 –

The Hague (AP) — The Netherlands has banned flights from the UK for at least the rest of the year …

The Hague (AP) — The Netherlands has banned flights from the United Kingdom, at least for the rest of the year, to prevent new strains of the coronavirus that are sweeping southern England from reaching its shores.

The ban came into effect on Sunday morning, and the government said it was responding to the stricter measures imposed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday in London and the surrounding area. “We appreciate the potential to contain virus imports from the United Kingdom, along with other European Union countries,” the Netherlands said.

A new variant of the fast-moving virus, which is 70% more infectious than existing strains, appears to be driving the rapid spread of the new infection in London and southern England, Johnson said.

“There is no evidence to suggest that it is more deadly or causes a more serious illness,” the Prime Minister emphasized, or the vaccine would not be very effective against it.

The Dutch government strongly advises citizens not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

There was no immediate word about what the Dutch government was trying to do with the ferry traveling between Britain and the Netherlands.

The UK warned the World Health Organization that new variants identified this week appear to be accelerating the spread of COVID-19, accounting for about 60% of cases in the capital.

The virus mutates regularly, and scientists have found thousands of different mutations in a sample of the virus that causes COVID-19. However, many of these changes do not affect the ease of spread of the virus or the severity of the symptoms.

Britain has killed more than 67,000 people in a pandemic. This is the second highest death toll in Europe after Italy. The Netherlands has recorded more than 10,500 virus-related deaths.

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