December 21, 2020 6 min read
This Sunday, several European countries announced the suspension of flights from the United Kingdom . This in response to the new strain of coronavirus detected in that country, more contagious than the previous ones. In the last hours, several Latin American countries have joined the preventive measure. For its part, Mexico will keep its borders open to the entry of flights from the British nation.
Last night, during the press conference on the situation of the coronavirus in Mexico, Dr. José Luis Alomía Zegarra, director general of Epidemiology , said that vigilance will be maintained on the new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“We are going to be very attentive to the positions issued by the WHO, to the data issued by the European Union in the following days,” said Alomía. “This variant has not been found to cause more serious disease, let alone more lethal compared to other variants,” he added.
However, the official confirmed that the new strain of coronavirus has already been detected in the United States and Brazil.
That same Sunday, around 9:00 p.m., a direct British Airways flight from London landed at Terminal 1 of the Mexico City International Airport (AICM).
Santiago Argüero de Buen, AICM social communication manager, said that the corresponding sanitary protocols will be implemented for this flight, just like the rest of the arrivals. In statements to Forbes , he added that the federal Ministry of Health (SSA) is in charge of establishing health protocols for these cases, so the entity to which it belongs does not have the authority to issue regulations in this regard.
For your safety, at the #AICM we responsibly apply health protocols in both terminals. Your help is very important. Wear the mask, use the antibacterial gel and respect the healthy distance at all times. pic.twitter.com/Mwrkp21Z8P
– @AICM_mx (@AICM_mx) December 21, 2020
This Monday, in his morning conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador pointed out that the Mexican government is analyzing whether it will cancel flights from the United Kingdom .
“Today (Monday) the case is analyzed and, if it deserves it, decisions will be made,” said López Obrador in his usual morning. He also revealed that the matter was discussed first thing in the morning with the secretary and undersecretary of Health, with whom he coordinates the response to the pandemic.
According to data from the British Airways page, more than 40 flights from the UK will land in Mexico , most of them bound for CDMX and Cancun.
Which countries have already closed their borders to the United Kingdom?
This December 20, several countries in Europe and America announced the veto of flights and boats of British origin. The first to speak were the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy , followed by Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Ireland. In turn, Switzerland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have announced exceptional measures to prevent the entry of the new variant. Spain announced that, for the moment, it will only increase control at its airport, but ruled out canceling flights.
The Government of Israel announced a travel ban from the UK, Denmark and South Africa. Saudi Arabia decreed the suspension of each and every entry to the country by land, sea or air for a period of one week, extendable to two.
Canada will ban flights from the UK for 72 hours starting Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed. Those people who enter the country this Monday, because their flights were already scheduled or in transit, must undergo another series of “secondary” measures.
In Latin America , countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and El Salvador adopted the same measure, in an effort to prevent the spread of the newly discovered variant of COVID-19. Brazil, the country most affected by the pandemic in the region, has not issued any restrictions.
The first to react was Argentina , with 1.5 million positive cases and almost 42,000 deaths. The government of President Alberto Fernández announced that all flights to and from the United Kingdom were suspended, except for a British Airways service that was already on its way to Buenos Aires. Passengers on the plane, scheduled to land at 9:30 a.m. local time, will have to undergo a rapid PCR test and a seven-day quarantine.
The national government decided to suspend the entry and exit of flights to and from Great Britain as of tomorrow, as a result of the epidemiological situation in that country, after declaring the appearance of a new strain of COVID-19.
+ info at: https://t.co/VCmSlt75SH
– Ministry of Health of the Nation (@msalnacion) December 21, 2020
In Colombia , President Iván Duque announced the cessation of flights from the United Kingdom as of this Monday. The measures “are not to generate panic or generate any situation of concern among citizens. They are preventive measures that are adopted responsibly and that what they seek is to exercise better epidemiological control ” , explained the Colombian executive.
Passengers with Colombian residence who have been in the United Kingdom during the last two weeks and arrive in the country from third countries will have to comply with a 14-day quarantine. If they are foreigners, they will be prohibited from entering and will be returned to their origin, at a cost to the airline that has transferred them.
Chile, which was gradually tightening the lockdown, will implement the restriction from Tuesday, December 22, for two weeks. Non-resident foreigners who have been in the United Kingdom and arrive in Santiago for connections will be prohibited from entering. Residents must submit to 14 days of isolation.
[GOVERNMENT INFORMS]Foreigners who have been in the United Kingdom in the last 14 days are prohibited from entering the country, due to their epidemiological situation. More information in the following statement: pic.twitter.com/MAMbB8bQab
– Government of Chile (@GobiernodeChile) December 21, 2020
For its part, Peru withdrew the authorization for direct flights from the United Kingdom that it had granted on December 15, after the suspension imposed since the start of the pandemic. “As a preventive measure, we will not authorize direct flights or flights with a stopover in the United Kingdom until further notice,” reported the Peruvian Ministry of Transport and Communications.
According to reports from British authorities, the new strain of the coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom has a transmission capacity 70% greater than the rest. Up to 62% of new infections in London are the result of this mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Until now, the covid-19 vaccines that are in process are considered to be effective against the mutated strain, according to European experts cited by the German Minister of Health.
“The new variant has no impact on vaccines that are still just as effective ,” German minister Jens Spahn told public broadcaster ZDF.