Ireland, Canada, and several nations of Europe have restricted travel to and from the United Kingdom following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of a new lockdown Saturday after a new, highly contagious strain of COVID-19 apparently emerged in London and areas of southern England.
France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, and Bulgaria have all responded to Johnson’s edict by either banning or severely restricting travel from the U.K., according to The Associated Press.
France banned all travel from the U.K. for 48 hours beginning midnight Sunday, going so far as to forbid freight-bearing trucks traveling under the English Channel. “French officials said the pause would buy time to find a ‘common doctrine’ on how to deal with the threat, but it threw the busy cross-channel route used by thousands of trucks a day into chaos,” the AP reported.
Flights from the U.K. to Germany were also halted, as were trains from London to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that for 72 hours after midnight on Sunday, “all flights from the U.K. will be prohibited from entering Canada,” adding that anyone who arrived from the country on Sunday would have to undergo secondary screening.
In the U.S., Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also expressed concern about travelers from the U.K., describing it as “reprehensible” and “grossly negligent” to allow flights from the country into John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to the New York Post.
“Right now, this variant in the U.K. is getting on a plane and flying to JFK,” Cuomo said Sunday in a call to reporters.
Cuomo said, at a “minimum,” the federal government must demand COVID-19 testing of all travelers from the U.K. “right now, today,” and perhaps even ban them altogether.
“Literally six flights a day. And all it takes is one person,” Cuomo warned.
London has been thrown into chaos as people are fleeing the British capital following the prime minister’s emergency lockdown orders.
The Daily Wire reported:
London experienced a “wild weekend exodus” on Saturday as residents scrambled to escape the city after the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared a top-down emergency lockdown and “canceled Christmas” over concerns about a “new version” of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The New York Times reports that Johnson “abruptly reversed course on Saturday and imposed a wholesale lockdown on London and most of England’s southeast, banning Christmas-season gatherings beyond individual households,” following “evidence of a [COVID-19] variant first detected several weeks ago in southeast England, which the prime minister asserted was as much as 70 percent more transmissible than previous versions.”
The lockdown goes into effect on Sunday, effectively cutting off London and its surrounding suburbs from the rest of the country in order to prevent the “new version” of the novel coronavirus from spreading beyond the country’s capital.
The new measures, the NYT notes, “are the most severe measures the British government has taken since it imposed a lockdown on the country back in March, and reflect a fear that the new variant could supercharge the transmission of the virus as winter takes hold.”
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