Thousands are stranded at airports after trying to leave the UK or enter the country before Christmas. So far, more than forty countries have banned receiving flights from the island country because a new highly contagious strain of the virus has been identified there.
– I spend Christmas with my family. I come in 2-3 weeks and I hope to be able to return to Britain in 2-3 weeks without major restrictions – says Michel, a Polish traveler.
The flights will be diverted to the UK.
“I came to London from the Middle East, where my destination was diverted to Dublin, and now I’m trying to go back to the UK from here,” says Matthew Khazini Rad.
The reason for these measures is the emergence of a new strain of the virus, which is up to 70 percent more contagious than previously identified. IATA is looking for ways to secure further operations.
“The situation reinforces the need to screen travelers. Governments need to work together to keep borders open to healthy passengers,” they said in a statement.
According to the head of the European Medicines Agency, Pfizer-BioNTech is also providing protection against the new strain of the virus.
Imer Cook said: “Until now, we cannot say that the Pfizer vaccine is ineffective against the new strain of the virus.”
Canada and India have also joined countries that do not allow flights from the United Kingdom to land, and European Union officials are negotiating a coordinated response.