New Covid strain: China suspends visa application service centre operations in London

Beijing - A new variant of the pandemic coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Britain.

By Reuters

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Published: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 3:34 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 6:59 PM

China's two visa-application centres in England said on Tuesday they would temporarily close as a new variant of the coronavirus spreads rapidly in Britain.

The new variant of the virus, which has quickly become the dominant variant in cases of Covid-19 in parts of southern England, has led to several countries cutting travel ties with Britain.

The visa centre in London, which is under the tightest of England's four-tier COVID-19 restrictions, said it would close until further notice. China's embassy in London also announced the centre would suspend operations, "in accordance with the relevant pandemic prevention advice."

Meanwhile, the visa centre in the northern English city of Manchester, which is under the second-toughest Tier 3 restrictions, said it would be closed from December 29 until further notice "due to the serious local pandemic situation."

There is also a Chinese visa centre in the Scottish capital Edinburgh, which has been operating under reduced hours since November. All of mainland Scotland will move into the toughest restrictions from December 26.

China barred non-Chinese travellers from Britain last month, including those with valid visas and residence permits, because of rising coronavirus cases.

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