Several countries have banned flights to and from the UK after the country reported a more-infectious variant of the coronavirus.
The Netherlands was the first country to announce a ban on flights carrying passengers from the UK, and was quickly followed by several other European nations. An EU meeting on Monday is set to discuss a more co-ordinated response.
Kuwait was the first non-European country to impose restrictions on travellers flying from the UK.
More countries are set to announce suspensions or restrictions on travellers and flights as the situation develops. Travellers due to fly to or from the UK should consult their airline operator before leaving for the airport.
The UAE, which currently shares an air travel corridor with the UK, has not made any announcement regarding changes for passenger flights to or from the UK. Emirates confirmed to The National that all flights between Dubai and the UK are operating normally. A spokesperson for the national airline of the UAE said: "Etihad Airways flights are operating as normal, except for those restrictions posted on etihad.com." Suspensions apply to flights to and from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, and restrictions exist on services to Pakistan and Mumbai.
Etihad has updated its rules for travellers coming to the UAE from the UK. Passengers need to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight departure time. This has changed from 96 hours and the new rule comes into effect on December 24. It also applies to travellers transiting via Abu Dhabi and tests must be conducted at a government accredited medical centre.
Countries with travel bans on UK flights
The Austrian government announced a complete ban on passenger flights from the UK effective from Tuesday, December 22 until Januaury 1, 2021.
Flights to and from the UK are now suspended as a preventive measure. The last flight to land in the country from the UK arrived at Ezeiza international airport at 9am on Monday, December 21, and passengers and crew members are isolating for seven days. It is not known how long the flight suspension will remain in place.
Bulgaria banned passenger flights to and from the UK until December 24. The government said this was to prevent the import of a new strain of the coronavirus.Commercial flights from the UK have now recommenced with immediate effect, but with a new Covid-19 testing requirement in place for all travellers. The temporary travel ban on visitors arriving from the UK remains in place.
Belgium halted flights and Eurostar trains from the UK for 24 hours from midnight on Sunday, December 20. Flights have reopened but only for Belgian citizens and EU nationals or residents travelling home until at least December 31.
No cases linked to this new strain of coronavirus have been identified in Canada, but the government is taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus. All inbound commercial and private passenger flights from the UK to Canada are suspended until at least January 6. Travellers recently arrived in Canada from the UK should expect to receive additional direction from the government of Canada.
From December 22, until January 5, travellers from the UK are banned from entering Chile. This does not apply to citizens of Chile coming from overseas.
All flights between China and the UK have been paused indefinitely, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced.
Flights to and from the UK are suspended from December 21, until further notice. Travellers who arrived in the country in the past eight days must now remain in isolation.
UK passenger flights to Croatia are suspended until January 1, according to the Croatian Civil Aviation Authority. "Given the new learnings about the faster intensity of the spread of Covid-19 in the UK, the Republic of Croatia temporarily suspended passenger air traffic from the UK due to precautions," said the authority.
Passenger flights from the UK to Denmark were temporarily suspended but resumed on December 25 with new restrictions in place for travellers flying from the UK. Denmark’s transport minister said on Twitter that the move was “to prevent the new, mutated virus from spreading at home".
Travellers from the UK or South Africa, or who have been in either of those countries in the past month including on a flight layover, are banned from entering El Salvador.
Estonia has halted flights to and from the UK from December 20. This restriction is set to be reviewed, but will last until at least December 31.
France has lifted restrictions from the UK and will allow normal services between the two countries from Wednesday, December 23. The new agreement will also allow French and British citizens with French residency to return, provided they have a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of flying.
Passenger flights between the UK and Finland have been suspended until at least Monday, January 4. The decision was made to limit the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency from Traficom's Department of Health and Welfare.
Passenger flights between Germany and the UK are banned. This suspension is in place until at least January 6, 2021. The ban does not currently apply to other forms of transport, though further restrictions may be introduced with little notice. Germany's Health Minister said on Twitter that it was also halting flights to and from South Africa due to reports of mutated viruses.
Hong Kong has restricted passenger flights from the UK. Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific has cancelled all services to and from the UK until January 10.
The country will also refuse entry to anyone who has spent more than two hours in the UK in the past two weeks, including permanent residents of Hong Kong.
Hungary has restricted flights to and from the UK until February 8, 2021. This is in addition to border closures already in place for most foreigners due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Passenger flights between Italy and the UK have resumed after an initial suspension on December 20. However, travellers who have passed through the UK in the past two weeks are prohibited entry as is anyone without official residency in Italy.
The Irish government announced a ban on flights from the UK from midnight on December 20. This will remain in place until at least December 31, when it will be reviewed. Freight and cargo operations continue between the neighbouring countries.
India has suspended international commercial passenger flights from the UK. The rule came into place just before midnight on December 22 and will run until at least December 31.
International visitors are barred from entering Indonesia for a two-week period from December 28. This is to help contain the contagious strain of the coronavirus, said foreign minister Retno Marsudi.
Flights from the UK to Iran are suspended for two weeks from December 20. This comes following a decision by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education to help prevent the spread of the new variant of Covid-19.
The country has banned air travel to the UK, as well as South Africa, Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and Iran. Any Iraqis who arrive from those countries will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Israel announced it was "closing the skies" to flights from the UK, as well as Denmark and South Africa. Flights are suspended with immediate effect for an initial period of seven days. Israel also changed the UAE's risk level to "red" meaning that citizens holidaying in the UAE must quarantine upon their return to Israel.
The island country announced it will immediately ban UK-originating air travel for two weeks, ending January 4, 2021. A ban on outbound UK travel will start midnight on December 22.
Japan has banned foreign nationals from entering the country until the end of January after several cases of the new Covid-19 variant were recorded, the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday. Flights will still operate with citizens and foreign residents able to enter, but travellers will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Jordanian authorities have suspended all direct and transit passenger flights from the UK from December 21 to January 3, government spokesman Ali Al Ayed said.
Al Ayed said that the reported coronavirus mutations in Britain were behind the decision. He added that any renewal of the two-week ban will depend on “what reliable scientific information we have about the repercussions of the mutations".
“The government is following the world's coronavirus developments and will take all (necessary) additional precautionary steps to prevent any negative effects on the pandemic situation in the kingdom.”
Kuwait has suspended all commercial air traffic from December 21 until at least January 1, 2021. Cargo flights are exempt from this ban. The country initially added the UK to its list of high-risk countries from which flights are prohibited and banned travellers who had been in the UK in the preceding 14 days from travelling to Kuwait.
Latvia has suspended passenger air traffic to and from the UK from December 21. The country's centre for disease control said that the move was "unlikely to reduce the risk altogether, but will help to delay the spread of the new variant in Latvia".
Lithuania has suspended passenger air travel from the UK until December 31. Travellers from the UK already in Lithuania are not under any additional restrictions, but must follow lockdown restrictions in place across the country since December 16.
Luxembourg banned passenger flights to and from the UK from December 20 until December 21. The policy has now been updated to allow passengers from the UK to travel to Luxembourg if they are in possession of a negative PCR COVID-19 test result taken no more than 48 hours before arriving.
Passenger flights from the UK to Malta are suspended from December 22 according to Malta's Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs. "In spite of the flight suspensions, Maltese and other persons currently in the UK will be given the opportunity to return to Malta. Authorised returning persons will be requested to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Malta; they will be subject to testing on arrival and 14 days of mandatory quarantine, with a repeat PCR test required on day 5-7 of quarantine," detailed the ministry in a statement.
The Moldova government has announced the suspension of all flights to and from the UK with effect from midnight on December 23 until further notice. This includes passengers transition the UK en route to Maldova.
Morocco has suspended all passenger flights to and from the United Kingdom as of December 20, according to the country's official news agency.
Norway has stopped all direct passenger flights from the UK with immediate effect. The measure is initially valid for 48 hours, until December 29 when it will be reviewed.
All passenger flights from the UK to North Macedonia are suspended from December 21. This travel ban will remain in place until at least January 1, 2021.
Oman closed all land, air and sea borders on Tuesday, December 22 at 1am, for an initial period of one week. This follows measures imposed by various countries following the outbreak of a new strain of Covid-19, reported state television.
Panama will indefinitely deny entry to travellers—via land, air, sea—who have been in the UK and South Africa in the last 20 days.
Pakistan is banning passenger flights from the UK from December 23 until at least December 29. The suspension applies to all direct and indirect flights from the UK, according to the government of Pakistan's aviation authority.
Peru has suspended direct flights from the UK, and any flights with a scheduled stopover in the UK until further notice. The country has also suspended passenger flights originating in Europe for a two-week period.
Flights from Britain to Poland are set to be suspended from midnight on December 21 due to concerns over the new strain of coronavirus. The ban is in place until January 6.
Portugal has restricted travel from the UK from Tuesday, December 22. A tweet from Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation said: “The Government of #Spain, together with #Portugal, will suspend from tomorrow the entry into the Spanish territory of citizens from the #UnitedKingdom, except nationals or residents in our country."
Romania has banned all flights to and from the UK from December 21 for a period of 14 days. Romanian authorities advised that the ban could be rescinded if alternative ways of managing the risk from the new Covid variant become available.
Russia will ban all flights and suspend travel to and from the UK from midnight on December 21. The ban will run for at least seven days, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
Saudi Arabia has suspended all international commercial flights from December 20, initially for a one-week period. Non-Saudis in the country are allowed to leave on select flights.
Direct passenger flights to and from the UK were suspended from December 22 until December 24 when the ban was lifted.
South Korea has suspended all flights to and from the UK until at least December 31.
Spain is restricting passenger travel on inbound flights from the UK from December 22 until January 5, except for Spanish citizens and residents. This includes flights from the UK to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands.
Sri Lanka temporarily banned international passenger flights from the UK on December 23. Sri Lankan Airlines, Etihad and Emirates are currently operating some outbound flights from Sri Lanka to the UK.
Travellers from the UK, the Netherlands and South Africa will be banned from entering Sudan from December 23. This is set to run until January 5.
Sweden has banned travel into the country from the UK by plane, boat or car. The transport ban also applies to travellers from Denmark and is set to last for one month.
Flights between Switzerland and the UK are suspended until further notice, according to Switzerland’s Civil Aviation authority. Similar rules have been put in place for flights to and from South Africa.
“Due to the new epidemiological situation in Great Britain and South Africa, the Federal Office of Civil Aviation OFAC has suspended air traffic between Switzerland and these two countries until further notice from midnight Sunday,” said authorities in a statement.
The Netherlands banned flights carrying passengers from the United Kingdom on December 20. This has been eased but the Dutch Government requires passengers from the UK aged 13 and above to be in possession of a negative PCR COVID-19 test result before they can fly into the country.
The Philippines has announced it will extend its suspension all air travel to and from the UK to another two weeks until mid-January. There will also be a 14-day quarantine for passengers that came from or transited in the UK, and from countries where the more infectious Covid-19 variant have been detected.
Turkey temporarily suspended flights from the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and South Africa. Flights have resumed but at a reduced frequency. From December 29, travellers over 6 years age and over who have visited the UK within the last 10 days will be required, to submit a negative PCR test result completed within 72 hours of their arrival into Turkey. Passengers will then be required to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival. On day seven, they will be subjected to a further PCR test. If that test is negative, their quarantine will be lifted.
All flights between Tunisia and the UK are suspended from December 21 until further notice, according to Tunisia's Ministry of Transport and Logistics on Facebook. Flights are also suspended to and from South Africa.