Covid-19: Concern increases in Europe after the variant of the virus

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The discovery of a new "out of control" variant of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom led Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands to suspend their flights with this country, further increasing concern in Europe.

Europeans are working together to find an answer to this new variant, while Italy is completely reconfiguring itself and other countries in Europe toughen up the measures taken to contain the third wave of the threatening pandemic.

The new strain is "out of control", British Health Minister Matt Hancock acknowledged on Sunday, justifying a reconfiguration of London and part of England. "It will be very difficult to keep it under control until a vaccine is deployed."

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel debated on Sunday to discuss this new variant of the coronavirus.

Several European countries cut ties with the United Kingdom

The lack of coordination within the EU had led Spain to demand a common response, asking to avoid "unilateral measures".

The Dutch government suspended, from Sunday morning until January 1, all passenger flights from the United Kingdom. Belgium, for its part, suspends flights and trains from the United Kingdom from midnight on Sunday.

Italy will also suspend flights with the United Kingdom, Italian Chancellor Luigi Di Maio announced.

As for Germany, it is seriously considering suspending flights from the UK and South Africa following the discovery of Covid-19 variants in these two countries, a source told AFP on Sunday. government, and Austria "wants to impose" it on Great Britain.

"No test"

The World Health Organization (WHO) asked Europeans to "strengthen their controls" due to the new variant circulating in the United Kingdom, its European affiliate told AFP on Sunday.

Outside the British territory, a handful of cases have been reported in Denmark (9), as well as a case in Holland and Australia according to the WHO, which recommends that its members globally "sequence" the virus before learning more about the risks posed by the variant, according to a spokesperson.

According to the WHO, in addition to "preliminary signs that the variant could be more contagious," the British variant "could also affect the effectiveness of certain diagnostic methods."

However, "there is no evidence of a change in the severity of the disease" at this stage.

Such a disruption to air and rail traffic, if it continues, could exacerbate Brexit-related transport problems, with the UK leaving the EU single market on December 31, ensuring free movement within its borders.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose country is one of the most disconsolate in Europe with more than 67,000 deaths, said this Saturday that the virus circulating in London and the southeast of England reaches up to 70 percent, more contagious than the previous strain.

To stop this mutant version, more than 16 million Londoners and South East England residents woke up to a new lockdown on Sunday, forced to end Christmas.

On Sunday Oxford Street, the busiest commercial artery in central London, usually buzzing with activity, was deserted again, almost three weeks after a second blockade was launched in England.

"If necessary, so be it," Liz Field, a 73-year-old retiree, confided resignedly. "We can celebrate Christmas in January, February."

Italy, which, along with the United Kingdom, is the country in Europe hardest hit by the pandemic with more than 68,000 deaths, will be classified as "red" and will be reconfigured for the holidays from Monday.

"Our experts fear that the contagion curve will increase during the Christmas period," explained the head of government Giuseppe Conte, highlighting that Italians will have the right to go out to participate in a family meal in limited numbers.

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