Officials in the White House are due to meet later today to discuss banning travel from the United Kingdom. The revelation comes as many other countries have enacted similar bans over fears a new COVID-19 variant is spreading much faster in the UK.
The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind for the United Kingdom. On Saturday, the country’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, revealed that many would have to cancel Christmas plans due to a new COVID-19 outbreak in London and the Southeast. Then, at 06:00 the next morning, Denmark became the first to ban travel from the UK, to stop the importation of the new virus strain. Since then, over 40 more countries have blocked travel from the island nation, ranging from Germany to India.
Everything is possible
According to CNN via Reuters, the White House coronavirus taskforce will meet later today to discuss how to deal with the new strain of coronavirus currently spreading through the United Kingdom. According to the publication, the new variant’s presence has not been confirmed in the US, but it may be present. The talks come as there were rumors that existing travel restrictions would be relaxed.
U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir told CNN,
“I think everything is possible. We just need to put everything on the table, have an open scientific discussion and make the best recommendation… It could be in the United States and we might not have yet detected it.”
According to UK travel expert Paul Charles, similar discussions between EU member states ended without agreement.
— Paul Charles (@PPaulCharles) December 21, 2020
Travel chaos from Britain
With dozens of countries closing their borders with the UK, chaos has been created for those looking to travel ahead of Christmas. In Germany, the ban on flights only entered into force at midnight. However, passengers were already facing disruption before then.
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According to Frankfurt radio station FFH, 157 travelers from five flights the UK are stranded at Frankfurt Airport, awaiting COVID-19 tests. Lufthansa has continued flying passengers to the United Kingdom, but the returning flights are operating empty.
Meanwhile, in a recording published by German-language publication Bild, the pilot of a flight arriving in Hannover warned passengers that German citizens would be allowed to enter the country but that all others would have to wait for the results of a COVID-19 test.
Even packages affected
The disruption isn’t limited to passengers. According to The Metro, DHL has suspended package delivery to the UK. The action could impact the delivery of Christmas gifts, coming just days before the main holiday.
Have you been affected by the sudden flight ban affecting travel from the United Kingdom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!