A growing number of Latin American governments have prohibited passenger flights to and from the United Kingdom amidst concerns of a new ‘Super COVID-19’ strain.
On Sunday, Argentina and Chile announced the travel ban on direct flights, which went into effect Monday in both nations.
The Argentine government imposed a mandatory seven-day quarantine on passengers and crew members on the only scheduled flight from London at Ezeiza International Airport in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Chile also banned entry to tourists who had been in the United Kingdom in the last 14 days. The Andean nation, which has reported 585,546 cases and 16,514 deaths, also imposed an obligatory 14-day quarantine to any foreign national or Chilean citizen who had visited the U.K. over the last two weeks.
The decision came as more than 40 countries across the globe slammed the doors on flights from Britain due to fears of the new virus strain, where as of Monday the pandemic had generated 2,046,199 confirmed cases and 67,503 deaths.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that British Airways had agreed to allow only passengers who test negative for the coronavirus to fly to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. At least 25 flights were scheduled to arrive in at JFK from Heathrow Airport on Monday. Newark Liberty International Airport also had one flight from Heathrow on Monday afternoon.
The coronavirus epidemic has also ravaged Latin America.
Brazil ranks third worst in the world with 7,238,600 cases and second with 186,764 deaths. Argentina has reported 1,541,285 positive cases – the 10th most COVID-19 cases. The Brazilian government has not announced any measures to restrict travel from the U.K.
‘The world has strict measures. I am concerned about what is happening in South America,’ said Argentina’s health minister, Ginés González, according to Argentine news channel Noticias Américas. ‘Cases are on the rise in all neighboring countries. The only one that is not rising is Argentina, but we have to change our behavior.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson affirmed Saturday that the ‘Super COVID-19’ is a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70% more transmissible than existing strains appeared to be driving the rapid spread.
He stressed, however, that ‘there’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,’ or that vaccines will be less effective against it.
The U.K.’s chief scientific advisor, Dr. Patrick Vallance, said that ‘our working assumption at the moment from all of the scientists is that the vaccine response should be adequate for this virus.’
Colombian President Iván Duque joined his South America neighbors in imposing on Sunday a suspension on all flights between both countries, which will go into effect Tuesday.
Passengers arriving before the ban must undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
The Colombia leader also pointed out that any person currently in Colombia who in the last eight days arrived from the United Kingdom will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
Duque said the new measures were not put into place to create ‘panic’ in a nation that has reported 1,507,222 confirmed cases and 40,475 deaths.
‘They are preventive measures that are adopted responsibly and that what they seek is to exercise better epidemiological control,’ Duque said.
El Salvador President Najib on Sunday moved to ban travelers who had been in the United Kingdom and South Africa over the last 30 days. The travel restrictions also includes travelers whose flights included a layover those countries.
Peru had reinstated air travel with the United Kingdom as of December 15, but the government shut down connecting and direct flights between the nations.
The Dominican Republic’s tourism and health ministries appealed for a U.K. travel ban Monday.
Despite having reported 118,602 deaths, second-most in the world, Mexico decided to permit flight arrivals from the United Kingdom. Mexican news outlet Milenio reported at least 44 flights are expected to arrive in Mexico City between Tuesday and Saturday.
Which countries have banned flights from the UK?
France imposed an inbound travel ban from 11pm last night
Spain will ban all entries from the UK except for Spanish nationals and residents from tomorrow
Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Romania, Malta, Croatia, all suspended flights from the UK
Italy blocked all flights from the UK until 6 January
Bulgaria suspending flights from the UK until 31 January
Netherlands banned all passenger flights from the UK until 1 January
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia banned flights from the UK until 31 January
Denmark suspended all flights from Britain for 48 hours as of this morning
Norway stopped planes from the UK for two days
Belgium halted flights and trains from the UK from midnight for at least 24 hours
Greece extended its quarantine period for travellers from the UK from three days to seven
Portugal says only Portuguese people and residents can arrive from the UK
In the Republic of Ireland, flights arriving from Britain are banned for 48 hours at least from midnight on Sunday and people have been asked not to ‘travel to Ireland, by air or sea’.
Turkey has temporarily banned all flights from the UK
Canada suspended entry of all flights from the UK for 72 hours
Russia is suspending flights from the UK for one week
India is suspending flights from the UK from midnight on Tuesday until 31 December
Hong Kong, Israel, Iran, Croatia, Morocco and Kuwait brought in restrictions on UK travel
In Latin America, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru all banned flights from the UK
Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for one week while Jordan suspended flights from the UK for two weeks
Czech Republic says arrivals who have spent at least 24 hours in UK territory will need to isolate