German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced Germany is “banning all passenger flights from the UK to Germany as of midnight.”
The decision comes after several European countries put a stop to all flights coming from the UK.
“Tomorrow we plan to restrict all travel to GB (Great Britain) & South Africa with a government order in light of the reports over a mutation of the virus,” Spahn tweeted.
In guter Zusammenarbeit untersagt das @BMVI ab Mitternacht alle Passagierflüge aus Großbritannien nach Deutschland. Morgen planen wir, mit einer Verordnung der Bundesregierung den gesamten Reiseverkehr mit GB & Südafrika angesichts der Meldungen zu mutierten Viren einzuschränken.
— Jens Spahn (@jensspahn) December 20, 2020
Berlin was taking this step due to “the reported mutation of the coronavirus,” according to government spokeswoman Martina Fietz.
Wegen der gemeldeten Coronavirus-#Mutation beabsichtigt die Bundesregierung, die Reisemöglichkeiten zwischen Deutschland und Großbritannien sowie Südafrika einzuschränken. Eine Regelung wird zur Zeit erarbeitet. Die Bundesregierung steht im Kontakt mit den europäischen Partnern.
— Martina Fietz (@m_fietz) December 20, 2020
“The German government maintains contact with the European partners,” she wrote on Twitter.
The federal police also warned that people should only travel to the UK “if it is absolutely necessary.”
The Interior Ministry has instructed federal police to systematically check travelers from the UK and South Africa, with immediate effect, a ministry spokesperson said, adding that control measures are to be closely coordinated with local health authorities and that travelers should expect longer waiting times at the borders.
Earlier, the Dutch government put a halt to all passenger flights entering from the UK after finding a case in the Netherlands of the new coronavirus strain that has been circulating around Britain.
The ban, which started at 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Sunday and lasts until at least January 1, came just hours after the UK announced a stay-at-home order for the south of England, including London, to slow the more infectious variant.
The Dutch public health body, the RIVM, said it “recommends that any introduction of this virus strain from the United Kingdom be limited as much as possible by limiting and/or controlling passenger movements.”
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Cabinet said that other forms of transport were still under review.