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COVID-19: Spain joins growing list of countries to ban travel from UK over mutated strain fears | UK News

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COVID-19: Spain joins growing list of countries to ban travel from UK over mutated strain fears | UK News

Countries around the world have imposed restrictions on travel from the UK due to fears of a new strain of the coronavirus.

Spain, Russia and India are among the latest countries to announce new measures.

It comes as France says it is working on a plan to “ensure that movement from the UK can resume” – after it banned travel including freight hauliers.

  • India will stop all flights from the UK until 31 December, starting on Wednesday
  • Russia is suspending all flights to and from Britain for a week
  • The Netherlands has banned flights with passengers from the UK until 1 January
  • Denmark has suspended all flights from Britain for 48 hours as of Monday morning
  • Norway has also stopped planes from the UK two days
  • Israel’s Prime Minister has order the country to “close the skies” after a meeting of the cabinet
  • Belgium has banned flights and rail travel from the UK for 24 hours with more clarity expected on Tuesday
  • Italy has banned air passengers from Britain until 6 January and also anyone who has transited through the UK in the previous 14 days. Residents of Italy will still be able to depart Britain to return home.
  • Austria has banned flights from the UK but the duration of the measure is not clear
  • Germany is banning flights from the UK for an unspecified duration
  • Spain will ban all entrants from the UK starting on Tuesday, although Spanish nationals will be allowed to return
  • Portugal says only Portuguese people and residents of the country can arrive from the UK. Everyone must show proof of a negative COVID test, which can be accessed at airports
  • Bulgaria is suspending flights from the UK until 31 January
  • Switzerland has announced a travel ban on all people arriving from the UK and South Africa
  • Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have agreed to ban flights from the UK until 31 January
  • France will bar entry for 48 hours (from Sunday night) to those coming from the UK (and accompanied freight) by road, air, sea or rail
  • Malta is suspending all flights to and from the UK from Tuesday
  • Sweden is preparing to ban entry from the UK but the details are not yet clear
  • Greece has extended the self-isolation time for those arriving from the UK from three days to seven days
  • Turkey is suspending flights from the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands, with the last two countries among those where the new strain has also been found
  • Hong Kong has banned all flights from the UK, and also announced that people who had recently made the journey will need to quarantine for an extra seven days – taking the total isolation time to 21 days
  • Canada is banning flights from the UK for 72 hours
  • Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for travellers for a week
  • Oman has closed it’s land, sea and air borders
  • Kuwait has suspended all commercial flights, and will close its land and sea borderers until 1 January
  • Jordan has suspended all flights to and from the UK until 3 January
  • El Salvador has banned travellers who have been in the UK within the previous 30 days, including transit
  • Ireland has banned flights and ferries from the UK for 48 hours
  • The Czech Republic says arrivals who have spent at least 24 hours in UK territory will need to isolate
  • Colombia, Morocco, Chile, Finland, and Argentina have also banned travellers from the UK

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Lorries queue on M20 after France travel ban

A UK government spokesman said it was in contact with its European partners about the travel restrictions, but it was not immediately clear when or for how long they would last.

Boris Johnson said the fast-moving new variant of the virus, which he added is thought to be 70% more transmissible than existing strains, appears to be driving a rapid spread of new infections.

The prime minister put London and much of the South East, where the new strain is most prevalent, into a Tier 4 lockdown over the Christmas period in an attempt to get the disease back under control.

Viruses mutate regularly, and scientists have found thousands of different of mutations among samples of the virus causing COVID-19.

But many of these changes have no effect on how easily the virus spreads or how severe symptoms are.

Britain has alerted the World Health Organisation over the new variant, saying it has accounted for some 60% of London’s cases.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the country is facing an “enormous challenge”, adding that the mutation was “out of control” and could see areas stuck in Tier 4 until the UK’s most vulnerable have been vaccinated.

The new variant has spread to every region of England, as well as parts of Scotland and Wales. It has been seen in some European countries and even as far away as South Africa and Australia.

In Australia, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said two returned travellers from the UK who tested positive to COVID-19 were found to be carrying the mutated variant of the virus.

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COVID-19: England’s COVID infection rate decreases slightly but remains high – ONS | World News

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COVID-19: England's COVID infection rate decreases slightly but remains high - ONS | World News

The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in England has decreased slightly but remains high, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Around 1 in 55 people who are not in care homes, hospitals or other institutional settings had the virus in the week ending 16 January.

In the last full infection survey published two weeks ago, 1 in 50 people had the virus – showing there has been a small decrease, although infection rates still remain high.

Worryingly, infection rates in Northern Ireland jumped from 1 in 200 in the previous survey to 1 in 60.

Rates in Scotland and Wales have levelled off, with 1 in 100 and 1 in 70 people infected respectively.

In England, London and the North East still have the highest infection rates, with about 1 in 35 people estimated to have the virus in the capital.

However, there was some good news as the percentage of people infected with the new variant has fallen in London, the South East and the East of England.

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COVID-19: Holidays to Spain could be delayed ‘until end of summer’ | World News

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reportedly said 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated

Britons hoping to escape to Spain could have their holiday plans cancelled following reports the Spanish prime minister said the country would not welcome international tourists until the “end of summer”.

Speaking at a meeting of the World Tourism Organisation, Pedro Sanchez reportedly said he did not expect holidaymakers to visit Spain until nearly all of the population has been vaccinated.

He said the country would “progressively” prepare to welcome international tourists once 70% of Spain’s population had been vaccinated, which he expected to be by the end of this summer, local media sites including Euro Weekly News have reported.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reportedly said 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated

It will be a blow for the tourism sector, which closed its worst year since the 1970s in 2020 with revenues falling by more than 75%.

Spain reported its highest daily number of coronavirus infections yet on Thursday, recording 44,357 cases.

A further 404 deaths were also reported, taking the country’s total to 55,041 deaths and 2.5 million cases.

Spain is not the only popular holiday destination closing its doors to British tourists, as Portugal has said it will be suspending all flights to and from Britain from Saturday onwards.

Only repatriation flights will be allowed between the two countries, Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference.

British tourists arrive at Gran Canaria airport
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Spain is one of the most popular destinations for British tourists

Meanwhile, the UK itself has “considered” a full closure of its borders.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News ministers were keeping the idea “under review” and “can’t rule anything out for now” – although they believed the current restrictions were “sufficient”.

Asked whether people should be booking foreign holidays for this summer, Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to give an answer and said it was “far too early” to speculate on restrictions.

But some Britons have already begun booking their breaks, with holiday firms saying they had seen a spike in bookings from older people planning trips following the vaccine roll-out.

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‘We need to have a spring and summer season’

The UK’s largest tour operator TUI said half of bookings made so far have been made by over-50s.

Spain ranks among the most popular countries for people planning holidays this year.

A study by travel company Club Med showed it was the fifth most popular destination, behind the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.

Earlier, European Union leaders held an online summit to discuss potential coronavirus measures, including further border restrictions.

While a number of EU leaders said they would not rule out border closures, Spain and Greece backed an idea for a common approach to “vaccine passports”.

The system would allow people to travel if they had received the vaccine, although EU diplomats said the measure was premature as it is not yet clear if vaccinated people could still pass on the virus to others.

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Donald Trump was fooled into talking to prankster pretending to be Piers Morgan, TV presenter says | UK News

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Donald and Melania Trump

A prankster pretending to be Piers Morgan managed to fool Donald Trump into thinking he was speaking to the real TV presenter.

It happened in October while the former president and Apprentice star was on Air Force One, Morgan said.

Mr Trump, who left the White House for the final time earlier this week, only realised he had been scammed when he rang the genuine Morgan the following day while on his way to Florida, the presenter revealed.

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Donald and Melania Trump boarding Air Force One for the last time on Wednesday

Morgan told the BBC it was a “hilarious story”, adding: “Somebody had called him pretending to be me the day before and got through to him on Air Force One and they had a conversation with Trump thinking he was talking to me.”

It is not known who the prankster was.

The pair, who have known each other for more than a decade, fell out last year after Morgan, 55, criticised Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2008, Morgan won a series of Celebrity Apprentice hosted by the billionaire businessman.

He also interviewed him during his time in office for ITV‘s Good Morning Britain.

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Donald Trump’s presidency in 6 minutes

Taking about Mr Trump’s time as US president, Morgan said the 74-year-old had been a “useless leader” because of his “character flaws – the chronic narcissism, the desire to make everything about himself”.

But Mr Trump is not the only prominent person to have been fooled by a prankster.

In March last year, Prince Harry was reportedly tricked into speaking about his decision to quit the royal family by Russian hoaxers posing as the environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

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