Anand Sharma from Mumbai
Has God started punishing Britain for becoming the world’s capital of dirty money and safe haven of terrorists, jihadists and criminals? While the entire world is set to get rid of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic maximum with the next couple of months as vaccines are already being rolled into a number of countries, the United Kingdom seems to be falling into a further ditch, as another virus, which is far more dangerous and infectious than Covid-19 has already hit the country affecting thousands. British Prime Minister and other senior members of the government are openly showing extreme frustration and helplessness as the country is devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the new type of virus – which may finally compel the British authorities in keeping the country under lockdown at least until next summer – meaning, country’s economy is going to be badly screwed.
According to media reports, Kuwait’s civil aviation authority added the UK to its high-risk list of countries, meaning all flights from it are banned. All other countries in the Middle East, including Israel, are also going to follow the path pretty soon. Meanwhile, European countries banned flights from the UK on Sunday and the WHO called for stronger containment measures as the British government warned that a potent new strain of the virus was “out of control”.
As the World Health Organization urged its European members to strengthen measures against a new variant of Covid-19 circulating in Britain, the Netherlands imposed a ban on UK flights from 6:00 am (0500 GMT) on Sunday and Belgium said it would follow suit from midnight with ban on planes and trains from the UK.
Alarm bells were ringing across Europe – which last week became the first region in the world to pass 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic broke out a year ago – after it appeared that a new, even more infectious strain of the virus was raging in parts of Britain.
Germany, too, was considering a similar move as “a serious option” for flights from both Britain and South Africa, where another variant was discovered, according to a government source.
Italy will join the ban in order to protect its citizens, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook, without specifying when the measures would come into force.
Austria’s health ministry told the APA news agency that it would also impose a flight ban, the details of which were still being worked out.
A spokeswoman for WHO Europe told AFP that “across Europe, where transmission is intense and widespread, countries need to redouble their control and prevention approaches.”
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel held a conference call on Sunday about the matter, according to the Elysee palace in Paris.
Kuwait’s civil aviation authority added the United Kingdom to its high-risk list of countries on Sunday, meaning all flights from it are banned, the authority wrote on Twitter.
In August, Kuwait banned commercial flights to 31 countries which it deemed a high risk due to the spread of the coronavirus.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the infectiousness of the new strain had forced his hand into imposing a lockdown across much of England over the Christmas period.
“Unfortunately the new strain was out of control. We have got to get it under control,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News after Johnson U-turned on his previously stated policy of easing containment measures over the festive season.
Scientists first discovered the new variant – which they believe is 70 percent more transmissible – in a patient in September. And Public Health England notified the government on Friday when modeling revealed the full seriousness of the new strain.
But Britain’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty pointed out that while the new
strain was greatly more infectious, “there is no current evidence to suggest (it) causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is underway to confirm this.”
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,685,785 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Sunday.
And with the onset of colder winter weather in the northern hemisphere where respiratory diseases flourish, countries are bracing for new waves of Covid-19 with tighter restrictions, despite the economic damage such lockdowns wrought earlier this year.
The Netherlands is under a five-week lockdown until mid-January with schools and all non-essential shops closed to slow a surge in the virus.
Italy also announced a new regime of restrictions until January 6 that included limits on people leaving their homes more than once a day, closing non-essential shops, bars and restaurants, and curbs on regional travel.
In Russia, health authorities said that the number of people who have died from the coronavirus has surpassed the 50,000 mark and now stands at 50,858.
Extreme difficult time approaching Britain
With all the extremely bad news about the British authority’s failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic and the emergence of a new type of virus, which may also turn into a pandemic in Britain, the country’s economic future is most possibly going to enter into extreme hardship. In that case, thousands of Britons may become jobless, while the burden of hundreds and thousands of migrants from the EU nations as well as those illegal migrants may pose a grave threat to UK’s economy as well as social order.