China on Thursday suspended flights to and from UK after it reported a new, more infectious strain of the coronavirus.
China has largely curbed the spread of Covid-19 within its borders, but authorities remain highly vigilant about the threat of “imported” virus cases.
“Given the exceptional nature of the virus mutation and its potential impact … China has suspended flights between China and the UK after a full assessment,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a routine briefing.
As fears rose over the new virus strain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium halted UK flights earlier this week.
Turkey and Canada have also banned incoming flights from Britain indefinitely.
China has already imposed strict entry requirements to curb the spread of the coronavirus and last month banned foreign arrivals from a number of countries including Britain, Belgium, India, and the Philippines.
International carriers are largely limited to one flight per week per foreign city. The new flight ban will prevent Chinese nationals based in Britain from returning to China.
Pakistan on 21st December had joined several countries in banning flights from the UK due to concerns over a fast-spreading new coronavirus strain. A notification issued by the Aviation Division said the temporary restriction will apply to inbound travelers from the UK and people who have been in the UK over the past 10 days.
“Restriction to be effective from midnight Dec. 22, 2020, until midnight Dec. 29, 2020,” read the statement.
The move came as several European countries – including Turkey, France, Germany, Italy, and Austria – announced the suspension of flights from the UK amid news of a variant of coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also asked European countries to redouble their health measures amid the new virus strain.
India said it was also joining other countries in temporarily suspending all flights from Britain after the emergence of a new and more infectious strain of coronavirus there.
“Considering the prevailing situation in UK. Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020,” the aviation ministry said in a tweet.