Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, and Belgium banned air travel from the UK on Sunday due to fears over the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus.
Ireland is expected to restrict flights and ferries from midnight (23:00 GMT) on Sunday. Trains to Belgium are also suspended. France and Germany are considering similar action among others.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a new tier-four level of restrictions, scrapping a planned relaxation of rules over the Christmas period for millions of people.
“As a government, we have the duty to protect Italians. So for this reason, after alerting the British government, together with the Health Ministry we are about to sign an order to suspend flights with Great Britain,” Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook. He did not specify how long the flight ban will be in place, meanwhile, the Netherlands’ Foreign Ministry announced the travel ban until January 1.
Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told Belgian television channel VRT the ban would be in place for at least 24 hours as a “precautionary measure”, adding “we will see later if we need additional measures”.
In Ireland, the measures are expected to remain in place for an initial 48 hours before being reviewed.
Germany, Austria, and Spain also plan to restrict travel options with the UK.