European countries begin barring travelers from the U.K. over concerns of a new coronavirus variant.

European nations on Sunday started closing their borders to vacationers from the United Kingdom, a day after Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a wholesale lockdown on London and surrounding counties, citing issues of a brand new fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus.

The new restrictions in England, which got here into impact at midnight on Saturday and successfully quarantined the capital and different areas from the remainder of the nation, are the harshest measures to be taken because the nation’s first lockdown in March. Train stations in London on Saturday night time stuffed with crowds of individuals scrambling to depart the town.

Worried by the potential inflow of vacationers from Britain, the Netherlands stated it will droop flights from Britain from Sunday till Jan. 1, noting that the variant present in England “is thought to spread more easily and more quickly.”

Italy additionally suspended air journey, citing an obligation to guard Italians, and Belgian officers on Sunday enacted a 24-hour ban on arrivals from the United Kingdom by air or practice, which could possibly be prolonged. Other nations are additionally contemplating related bans, amongst them France and Germany, in accordance with native media.

Transport officers in England stated that they might improve the variety of law enforcement officials monitoring hubs like railway stations to make sure solely important journeys have been being taken.

Viral mutations should not unusual, and British officers stated this variant had been detected in a handful of different nations. And a equally contagious model of the virus has emerged in South Africa, which appears to share a number of the mutations seen within the British variant.

The estimate of higher transmissibility for the British variant — officers put the determine at 70 p.c — relies on modeling and has not been confirmed by lab experiments, stated Muge Cevik, an infectious illness knowledgeable on the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a scientific adviser to the British authorities.

“Over all, I think we need to have a little bit more experimental data,” she stated. “We can’t entirely rule out the fact that some of this transmissibility data might be related to human behavior.”