New Covid-19 strain: Full list of countries that have banned flights, travel

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A traveller wearing a face mask checks the flight departures at Schiphol Airport, near Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Netherlands joined many countries that banned flights from the UK for the rest of the year in an attempt to make sure that a new strain of the Covid-19 virus in Britain does not reach its shores. — AP
A traveller wearing a face mask checks the flight departures at Schiphol Airport, near Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Netherlands joined many countries that banned flights from the UK for the rest of the year in an attempt to make sure that a new strain of the Covid-19 virus in Britain does not reach its shores. — AP

Paris - Here are the list of the countries that announced a ban on flights and travellers from the UK in the wake of a new coronavirus strain.

By Agencies

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Published: Mon 21 Dec 2020, 12:14 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 10:56 AM

Countries around the world have begun banning flights and travellers from Britain as London said the spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain was “out of control”.

Here are the countries that have announced travel bans so far.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it was halting all flights and suspending entry through its land and sea ports for at least a week, with the option to extend for a further week.

Passengers who arrived in Saudi Arabia from Europe — or any country where the new strain was detected — starting December 8 will be required to self-isolate for two weeks, and undergo testing.


Oman will close its land, air and sea borders on Tuesday at 1am for one week, state television reported on Monday.

The decision follows measures imposed by various countries following the outbreak of a new strain of COVID-19, Oman TV said.


Kuwait on Monday announced that it would close its borders and suspend all international commercial flights until January 1, making it the third Gulf country to do so, after Saudi and Oman.


As concern mounted over a new strain of the novel coronavirus in the United Kingdom, India on Monday announced it was suspending flights from and to that country until the end of the year.

The suspension will come into effect on Wednesday — after 11.59 pm on Tuesday (December 22) — and will be in place until 11.59 pm on December 31.


Pakistan has also imposed travel restrictions on inbound travellers from UK. The restriction will be on all direct and indirect flights from the UK, effective December 23 at 12:00am.


On Sunday, France said it will halt all travel from Britain for 48 hours from midnight Sunday including journeys “related to goods transport by road, air, sea or rail”.

The ban on all but unaccompanied freight comes as companies scramble to shift merchandise across the Channel with days to go until Britain finally quits EU trade structures.

Prime Minister Jean Castex’s office said the 48-hour period would offer time to coordinate a joint EU response that would ultimately allow travel from the UK to resume “with compulsory testing on departure”.


Germany will halt all air links with the UK from midnight on Sunday, with the ban initially slated to last until December 31, Health Minister Jens Spahn told ARD public television. Cargo flights will be exempt.

A government source said AFP Berlin is already “working on measures” to extend the suspension into January, when the end of Britain’s post-Brexit transition period means it will no longer be covered by EU rules that enable the flight ban.


Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that he had signed a decree “which blocks flights from Great Britain and prohibits entry into Italy of people who have stayed there during the last 14 days”.

Anyone already in Italy who recently travelled from Britain must be tested for coronavirus, the statement added.

The new virus strain has been found in one person in Italy who recently returned from Britain, the health ministry said.


The new measures will require people who have visited Britain or South Africa within 14 days to quarantine for at least a week upon arrival in Guatemala. Health minister Amelia Flores said the restrictions would initially last two months.


Dublin said in a statement that all flights arriving from Britain from midnight Sunday would be banned for at least 48 hours.


Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that flights from Britain, Denmark — where nine cases of the new strain have been detected — the Netherlands and South Africa would be suspended.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that as a result of the new variant of Covid-19, Canada would ban all UK flights for 72 hours.

In a tweet, he added those who had already arrived from Britain on Sunday would be subject to secondary screenings and “advanced measures”.


Israel said it was barring entry to foreign citizens travelling from Britain, Denmark and South Africa.

A joint statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and the health ministry also announced tough rules for Israelis returning home from those nations, saying that they would be confined in army-run hotels serving as quarantine centres.


Sudan will ban travellers from Britain, the Netherlands and South Africa from December 23 due to the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus, the head of the civil aviation authority told Reuters on Monday.

The ban will last three weeks subject to renewal and more countries could be added to the list as the situation develops, Ibrahim Adlan said.


Iran’s health ministry has ordered flights from Britain suspended for two weeks, state news agency IRNA reported.

The Netherlands

All passenger flights from Britain to the Netherlands have been banned until January 1, the Dutch government said.

One case of the new virus variant has been found in the country, the health ministry added.


The country, which has a large diaspora population in Britain, also said that flights from the UK were being banned from midnight.

The former British colony is banning all flights arriving from the United Kingdom from midnight, and the quarantine of passengers who arrived from Britain in the last fortnight is being extended.

All international arrivals must already spend 14 days in isolation in a hotel.


Belgium decided on Monday to extend its travel ban on planes and trains coming from Britain for a further 24 hours until the end of Tuesday in a bid to keep out a new strain of the coronavirus, VRT broadcaster and Belga news agency reported.

In addition, only Belgian residents will be allowed to enter the country from December 23 to 31. From January 1, other people will be allowed to enter if they present proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test. Freight traffic remains permitted.


Austria’s health ministry said on Sunday that Vienna is working out details for a ban on travel from Britain.


Sweden will stop allowing in foreign travellers from Britain and Denmark in a bid to curb the rapid spread of a new strain of the coronavirus, the government said on Monday.

"To minimize the risk of it spreading here, the government has today decided on a ban of entry," Minister for the Interior Mikael Damberg told a news conference, adding that Swedish citizens were exempt from the ban.

Denmark's infectious disease authority said last week it had found nine cases of coronavirus infections involving the new strain from Nov 14. to December 3. It said it was monitoring the new strain closely.


Passenger flights from the UK will not be allowed to land in Finland for two weeks starting at midday on Monday, transport licensing agency Traficom announced late on Sunday.


Switzerland said it was suspending flights from Britain and South Africa, where a similar virus variant has been detected, from midnight Sunday “until further notice”. It has also ordered retroactive quarantine for all arrivals from the countries since December 14.

Baltic states

All three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — have halted all passenger flights from the UK. Lithuania will still allow flights to depart for the UK, while Estonia and Latvia have halted those as well.

Latvia has also banned bus and ferry passenger traffic to and from the UK. The bans will go into effect on Monday and last until the end of the year.


Bulgaria said that flights to and from Britain would be suspended from midnight Sunday until January 31.

The government had earlier announced a 10-day quarantine for anyone arriving from the UK.


Romania has banned all flights to and from the UK for two weeks, beginning on Monday afternoon.


Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the country would “temporarily suspend passenger air traffic from the UK for 48 hours”.

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said on Twitter that anyone who had been in Britain or South Africa in the past 30 days will not be allowed to enter the country.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong will ban all flights arriving from the United Kingdom from midnight local time on Monday, becoming the first city in Asia to announce such a halt.

People arriving into Hong Kong from the United Kingdom prior to Dec. 22 must quarantine for a total of 21 days, versus the previously mandated 14 days of quarantine. Health Secretary Sophia Chan said the government was monitoring whether to extend the quarantine duration for all arrivals.


Flights from Britain to Norway will be suspended with immediate effect for a minimum of 48 hours due to concerns over a new strain of coronavirus, the Norwegian health minister said in a statement on Monday.


Russian state-affiliated media on Monday said the country would be halting flights to and from the UK for seven days amid concerns over the new virus strain.

El Salvador

President of El Salvador Nayib Bukele said that anyone who had been in Britain or South Africa in the past 30 days would not be allowed to enter the country.


Argentina has also banned flights from the UK. It said the last flight from Britain would arrive in the country on Monday.


Chile is suspending flights from the UK from Tuesday.

The government said anyone without a Chilean residence permit who had been in Britain in the past two weeks would be barred from entry into the country.


Morocco banned all flights to the UK from Sunday.


Officials announced that the country has suspended flights to and from the United Kingdom from Monday until January 3 due to a new strain of the coronavirus detected in Britain.

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