Estonia suspends the air traffic with the UK

Due to the spread of a new coronavirus type in the United Kingdom, the Estonian government on 20 December suspended the air traffic with the UK and strongly advises against any travel to the UK.

The Estonian government said in a press statement that the ban on air passenger transport is temporary and it will review it when more information of the new type of the coronavirus becomes available.

The Estonian foreign ministry said it strongly advises against any travel to the UK.

“When travelling to the UK, additional restrictions may apply upon return from the UK or arriving in other countries from the UK, also there is a risk of unforeseen travel disruptions,” the ministry added.

According to the information available to the Estonian foreign ministry, several countries have already banned or are planning to ban direct travel connections with the UK.

“In addition, countries are considering to impose additional self-isolation requirements for travellers arriving from the UK,” the ministry asserted.

The new type is 70% more transmissible than previous versions

The British government has new evidence of a new coronavirus variant first detected several weeks ago in southeast England, which is said to be as much as 70 per cent more transmissible than previous versions. According to the New York Times, preliminary findings suggest it is spreading so fast in the UK that it is quickly displacing dozens of competing versions of the coronavirus that have been circulating for longer.

However, the evidence from the UK also suggests that the new type of the novel coronavirus is not more deadly than the previous variants, it just spreads faster.

The UK has also tightened its restrictions from 20 December, due to the new type of the virus. The prime minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, imposed a lockdown on London and most of southeast England and banned Christmas-season gatherings beyond individual households, effectively cutting off London and its surrounding counties from the rest of the UK.

Due to the continued spread of the coronavirus, the Estonian foreign ministry advises against any non-essential international travel.

Cover: An easyJet plane at the Tallinn Airport; the British low-cost airline serves the Tallinn-London Gatwick route. The image is illustrative. Photo by Anna Zvereva, shared under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 licence.

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