By James Manning
Things aren’t going well for the UK right now. First London was put into the new, more serious Tier 4 measures (along with several surrounding areas) due to the spread of a new, more infectious viral strain. Then, starting on Sunday December 20, several countries started to ban travel from the UK in its entirety to avoid importing the new variety. More than 40 countries have now banned or severely restricted arrivals from the UK.
Although countries had already imposed a quarantine on arrivals from the UK, and British residents are discouraged or banned from non-essential travel under the latest rules, the total suspension of flights also affects essential journeys, business travel and other trips that were previously still allowed under UK and local restrictions.
And with many UK citizens already concerned about travel in Europe after Brexit from January 1, the latest flight suspensions (and the possibility they may be extended past early January) are a further worry for anyone who was hoping to escape the UK for some winter sun – or a Christmas reunion with friends or relatives overseas.
Here is the latest list of countries currently not allowing travel from the UK:
Belgium: flights and Eurostar trains are suspended for an initial period of 24 hours on December 21, which could be extended to ‘one to two weeks’
Bulgaria: ban to last until at least January 31
Denmark: ban to last until at least December 23
Estonia: ban to last until at least December 31
Finland: ban to last until at least until at least January 4
France: all travel, including Eurostar trains and freight, is suspended
Germany: ban to last until at least December 31; also banning flights from South Africa
Ireland: ban (on flights only) to last until at least December 22
Italy: ban to last until at least January 6; Italian residents are exempt
Netherlands: ban (including ferries) to last until at least January 1
Portugal: Portuguese residents are exempt but must test negative
Romania: ban to last until at least January 4
Russia: ban to last until at least January 5
Spain: ban from December 22; Spanish citizens and residents are exempt
Sweden: ban to last until at least December 24; also banning travel from Denmark. Swedish citizens are exempt
Switzerland: also banning travel from South Africa
Turkey: also banning travel from Denmark and the Netherlands
Greece has not suspended flights but has introduced stricter quarantine measures for UK passengers.
Canada: ban to last until December 24
Iran: ban to last until at least January 3
Jamaica: ban to last until at least January 4
Jordan: ban to last until at least January 3
Kuwait: all international flights suspended
Oman: all international flights suspended for at least a week
Pakistan: ban to last until at least December 29
Peru: all travellers from Europe banned
Saudi Arabia: all international flights suspended for at least a week
Sudan: ban to last until at least January 10; also banning travellers from the Netherlands and South Africa
Tunisia: also banning travellers from Australia and South Africa
The USA and the Philippines are also reportedly considering introducing a flight ban on the UK, and at least one airline has stepped up restrictions on who can fly.
We’ll keep updating this story with the latest information, so check back soon.