PANDEMIC: This decision by Germany could be adopted by all the countries of the European Union worried by new coronavirus strain
Germany will suspend “from midnight” on Sunday all its air links with Great Britain following the appearance of a variant of the Covid-19 virus that is more contagious, announced the Minister of Health. “From midnight all flights are stopped” for passengers from this country, Jens Spahn said on the public broadcaster ARD.
According to a German government source, this decision could be adopted by all the countries of the European Union. Discussions are ongoing on this subject and Germany holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU until the end of this year. An exception is made for cargo flights for the transport of goods.
A new threat was taken “very seriously”
At the same time, from Monday “we will restrict all entries” into German territory by British and South African citizens by sea, rail or road, the minister stressed. Details are being finalized on this. The new strain of the virus, suspected to be 70% more contagious than the previous one, has been observed in these two countries, raising strong fears as the world is already hit by the second wave of the pandemic.
“We take this new threat very seriously” and are examining the consequences at the level of experts, in particular with the British “of the new variant of the virus, underlined the German minister. “A much faster contagion of the disease would be a big game-changer,” he said, as Germany is among the European countries most affected by the new wave.
The country is approaching the saturation threshold for the number of intensive care hospital beds. A partial re-confinement was ordered this week with the closure of all non-essential businesses and schools. The minister called generally “to give up all non-essential travel”. In Germany, the suspension of air links with Great Britain and South Africa is valid initially until December 31st.
It is only valid until that date because the decision was taken on the basis of a European directive and Britain is due to fully leave the EU at the end of this year. But Germany will extend it beyond in January and has started preparations for it, according to the government source. “We are working on a provision for the period from January 1st,” this government source told AFP.