France has joined Eire and a rising checklist of European international locations to impose journey restrictions on the UK – forcing the prime minister to name an emergency COBRA assembly.
A Quantity 10 spokesperson stated: “The Prime Minister will chair a COBRA assembly tomorrow to debate the state of affairs relating to worldwide journey, specifically the regular movement of freight into and out of the UK.”
It comes after France suspended “all flows of individuals from the UK for 48 hours, and for all technique of transport”.
A authorities spokesman stated the ban additionally contains all incoming accompanied freight by highway, air, sea or rail.
The Port of Dover has since closed to “all accompanied visitors leaving the UK till additional discover attributable to border restrictions in France”.
And Eurostar tweeted: “Following the announcement by the French authorities that the border with the UK will shut at midnight tonight, we are going to solely be capable to run trains from Paris to London for the Twenty first-Twenty second December.”
Transport secretary Grant Schapps tweeted: “We’re asking the general public & notably hauliers to not journey to Kent ports or different routes to France.
“We anticipate vital disruption within the space.
“My division is urgently working with Highways England and Kent Council on contingency measures to minimise visitors disruption within the space.”
Eire’s restrictions on flights and ferries will final for an preliminary 48 hours earlier than being reviewed throughout a cupboard assembly on Tuesday.
Several mainland European countries are also imposing bans – together with Germany.
A authorities spokesman stated it was in touch with its European companions in regards to the journey restrictions, but it surely was not instantly clear when or for a way lengthy they’d final.
The Netherlands has banned flights for at the least the remainder of the yr and can assess “with different European Union nations the chances to include the import of the virus from the UK”.
Italy’s international minister Luigi Di Maio introduced curbs have been being imposed.
Belgium’s prime minister issued a ban for at the least 24 hours whereas the state of affairs was assessed.
Bulgaria will droop flights to and from the UK at midnight till 31 January.
Turkey, Austria and the Czech Republic are additionally imposing new measures in opposition to UK flights, with Prague saying that folks arriving within the nation having spent at the least 24 hours in UK territory will now have to self-isolate.
Boris Johnson stated the fast-moving new variant of the virus, which he added is considered 70% more transmissible than existing strains, seems to be driving a speedy unfold of latest infections.
The prime minister put London and far of the South East, the place the brand new pressure is most prevalent, right into a Tier 4 lockdown over the Christmas interval in an try and get the illness again below management.
Viruses mutate repeatedly, and scientists have discovered 1000’s of various of mutations amongst samples of the virus inflicting COVID-19.
However many of those modifications don’t have any impact on how simply the virus spreads or how extreme signs are.
Britain has alerted the World Well being Organisation over the brand new variant recognized this week, saying that it accounted for some 60% of London’s circumstances.
Well being Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the nation is dealing with an “enormous challenge”, including that the mutation was “uncontrolled” and will see areas caught in Tier 4 till the UK’s most weak have been vaccinated.
Dr Susan Hopkins, of Public Well being England, stated the brand new variant had unfold to each area of England – in addition to components of Scotland and Wales, however in smaller quantities.
She additionally stated there was no proof it was inflicting a disproportionate variety of hospital admissions.
In the meantime, the European Medicines Company (EMA) is assembly on Monday to approve the primary COVID-19 vaccine for the European Union’s 27 nations, bringing vaccinations nearer for thousands and thousands of EU residents.
The vaccine made by German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech and American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer is already in use within the US, Britain, Canada and different international locations.