UK travel restrictions: What do we know so far?

A growing number of nations have banned flights from the UK in a bid to stop a mutant strain of coronavirus crossing their borders.

Here the PA news agency answers some key questions on the latest changes to international travel rules:

– Which European countries have banned flights from the UK?

France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Hungary and Switzerland have all said they will halt flights arriving from the UK.

UK travel restrictions due to Covid-19
(PA Graphics)

The Czech Republic has imposed stricter quarantine measures for people arriving from Britain.

-Which other countries have implemented travel bans?

Turkey, Morocco and India have announced they will be suspending air travel from the UK, while the official Saudi Press Agency reports Saudi Arabia is also suspending international flights for one week.

El Salvador is barring entry to anyone who has visited the UK in the preceding 30 days.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said from midnight Sunday, Canada was putting a 72-hour stop on flights from the UK.

– When do the flight bans start and how long do they last?

The Netherlands ban came into force on Sunday morning, with it due to last for at least the rest of the year.

Coronavirus - Sun Dec 20, 2020
Passengers queue for check-in at Gatwick Airport (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Belgium's prime minister Alexander De Croo issued a flight ban order for 24 hours starting at midnight on Sunday.

Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza said an order was signed on Sunday blocking flights from Britain and preventing anyone who had been to the UK in the last 14 days from entering Italy. The order bans plane travel until January 6.

Austria's ban on flights from the UK starts at midnight on December 22 and anyone arriving in the country before that date must quarantine for 10 days. It is unclear how long the ban will last.

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Travel restrictions imposed on UK
21 December 2020, Berlin: The information board at the capital's airport shows flights from London-Gatwick and Manchester as "cancelled". Following the emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus, numerous countries are suspending flights from the UK for the time being - including Germany. Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa (Photo by Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Freight lorries and goods vehicles are pictured parked in a paring lot near the Port of Dover in in Dover, Kent, on the south east coast of England on December 21, 2020, as a string of countries banned travellers all but unaccompanied freight arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain. - Britain's critical south coast port at Dover said on Sunday it was closing to all accompanied freight and passengers due to the French border restrictions "until further notice". (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Freight lorries at organised into stacks on the M20 motorway which leads to the Port of Dover at Mersham in Kent, south east England on December 21, 2020, as a string of countries banned travel including accompanied freight arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain. - Britain's critical south coast port at Dover said on Sunday it was closing to all accompanied freight and passengers due to the French border restrictions "until further notice". (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
People queue for a shuttle train at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, amid concerns that borders will close and with the public being urged to adhere to Government guidance after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that from Sunday areas in the South East currently in Tier 3 will be moved into a new Tier 4 for two weeks Ð effectively returning to the lockdown rules of November, after scientists warned of the rapid spread of the new variant coronavirus. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Passengers at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, amid concerns that borders will close and with the public being urged to adhere to Government guidance after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that from Sunday areas in the South East currently in Tier 3 will be moved into a new Tier 4 for two weeks Ð effectively returning to the lockdown rules of November, after scientists warned of the rapid spread of the new variant coronavirus. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KONGDOM - DECEMBER 20: Passengers arrive at St Pancras International train station in London, United Kingdom on December 20, 2020 as several European countries ban travel to and from the UK due to fears over the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus. Large parts of south-east England, including London, are now under a new, stricter level of restrictions to curb the spread of the virus during the upcoming holiday season. (Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Police and port staff turn away vehicles from the Port of Dover in Kent which has been closed after the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48 hours amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police and port staff turn away vehicles from the Port of Dover in Kent which has been closed after the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48 hours amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police and port staff turn away vehicles from the Port of Dover in Kent which has been closed after the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48 hours amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Empty ramps and lanes at the Port of Dover in Kent which has been closed after the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48 hours amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
The White Cliffs are reflected in the windscreen of a lorry whilst the driver sits his cab and queues to enter the port of Dover in Kent as the UK marked less than two weeks until 2021 and the end of the Brexit transition period. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police and port staff turn away vehicles from the Port of Dover in Kent which has been closed after the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48 hours amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ramps and lanes are empty at the Port of Dover in Kent, England which has been closed after the French government's announcement Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. France banned all travel from the UK for 48 hours from midnight Sunday, including trucks carrying freight through the tunnel under the English Channel or from the port of Dover on England's south coast. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)
LONDON, UNITED KONGDOM - DECEMBER 20: Police officers patrol at St Pancras International train station in London, United Kingdom on December 20, 2020. several European countries ban travel to and from the UK due to fears over the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus. Large parts of south-east England, including London, are now under a new, stricter level of restrictions to curb the spread of the virus during the upcoming holiday season. (Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Passengers at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, amid concerns that borders will close and with the public being urged to adhere to Government guidance after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that from Sunday areas in the South East currently in Tier 3 will be moved into a new Tier 4 for two weeks Ð effectively returning to the lockdown rules of November, after scientists warned of the rapid spread of the new variant coronavirus. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
21 December 2020, Lower Saxony, Langenhagen: Emergency vehicles of the rescue service stand on the grounds of Hannover-Langenhagen Airport. Due to the new variant of the coronavirus, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has instructed the Federal Police to systematically check travellers from Great Britain and South Africa with immediate effect. Photo: Moritz Frankenberg/dpa (Photo by Moritz Frankenberg/picture alliance via Getty Images)
21 December 2020, Lower Saxony, Langenhagen: Emergency personnel stand by and in an airport fire brigade bus on the grounds of Hannover-Langenhagen Airport. Due to the new variant of the coronavirus, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has instructed the Federal Police to systematically check travellers from Great Britain and South Africa with immediate effect. Photo: Moritz Frankenberg/dpa (Photo by Moritz Frankenberg/picture alliance via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 21: Passengers arrive at Istanbul airport as Turkey began testing passengers arriving from the UK early Monday for a new variant of the coronavirus after health officials in Britain confirmed it was rapidly spreading in the country on December 21, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. All passengers contact details were taken and they are required to self-isolate.Turkey joined other European countries late Sunday in banning flights from the UK and other countries due to concerns over the new fast-moving coronavirus strain. (Photo by Abidin Mutlu Bozdag/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 21: Passengers arrive at Istanbul airport as Turkey began testing passengers arriving from the UK early Monday for a new variant of the coronavirus after health officials in Britain confirmed it was rapidly spreading in the country on December 21, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. All passengers contact details were taken and they are required to self-isolate.Turkey joined other European countries late Sunday in banning flights from the UK and other countries due to concerns over the new fast-moving coronavirus strain. (Photo by Abidin Mutlu Bozdag/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Empty check-in lanes at the Port of Dover in Kent which has been closed after the French government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48 hours amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Germany said it was banning flights from the UK starting at midnight, Berlin time, on Sunday, with the German dpa news agency reporting it would remain in place until at least December 31.

France has banned all travel from the UK for 48 hours from midnight on Sunday.

Bulgaria said it was temporarily ceasing flights to and from the UK from midnight on Sunday.

Finland is due to suspend all passenger flights with the UK for two weeks from Monday.

Poland is also due to halt flights from midnight on Monday, though it is not yet known how long the ban will be in place.

Denmark said all flights from Great Britain would be halted for 48 hours from Monday.

– What is the situation with Ireland?

The Irish Government said on Sunday that it was imposing a 48-hour ban on flights from Britain to Ireland.

Coronavirus - Mon Oct 19, 2020
Eamon Ryan announced the new restrictions (Julien Behal/PA)

The restrictions come into force at midnight on Sunday.

– Is anyone exempt from the bans?

Ireland's transport minister Eamon Ryan said ferries will continue to operate for freight between Britain and Ireland.

"We need haulage coming in to keep our shelves full but other passengers will be restricted," he said.

The German government said exemptions from its flight ban include repatriation flights of planes and their crews, postal, freight or empty flights and aircraft carrying medical personnel.

The Bulgarian embassy in London said on its website that Bulgarian citizens and their families, as well as permanent residents in Bulgaria, were able to enter the country subject to a 10-day quarantine if they fly through a different country or enter Bulgaria on land or by sea.

– What discussions are taking place between governments?

An EU crisis meeting has been called for Monday to discuss the coordination of the response to coronavirus among the 27 member states.

The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) regards other countries' travel restrictions as a matter for their own governments.

It was previously understood to be in touch with international partners and monitoring the situation closely.

But late on Sunday night No 10 revealed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to chair a meeting of the UK Government's Cobra civil contingencies committee on Monday.

– Why is this all happening?

A mutant strain of coronavirus sweeping across London and the south east of England has prompted the EU nations to start restricting inbound flights from the UK.

Mr De Croo said Belgium's flight ban was "out of precaution", adding: "There are a great many questions about this new mutation and if it is not already on the mainland."

The German embassy in London tweeted that flight restrictions were the result of "the coronavirus mutation".

On Saturday, Mr Johnson said there was "no evidence" the new variant "causes more severe illness or higher mortality" but "it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily".

He said the new strain could be up to 70% more transmissible than the old virus variant.

– Are international train and ferry links running?

Eurostar said it was unable to run trains from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille or Amsterdam on Monday or Tuesday.

Trains to London from Paris will continue to operate, with the rail company saying it planned to resume services to and from the UK on Wednesday.

Eurotunnel said access to its UK site was prohibited from 10pm after its last train left at 9.34pm.

Dover's ferry terminal has also closed to "all accompanied traffic leaving the UK" after France moved to shut its border.

Coronavirus - Sun Dec 20, 2020
People at St Pancras station in London, waiting to board the last train to Paris (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

– Am I allowed to travel abroad from England?

If you are living in one of the newly created Tier 4 areas, which encompasses London and parts of the south east and east of England, you must not travel abroad.

Government guidance states people can only travel internationally if you are "legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work".

Across England people are advised to stay local and avoid travelling outside their area.

For those living in Tier 1, 2, and 3 areas, the guidance advises potential international travellers to "carefully consider whether they must travel abroad".

It advises them to "follow the rules in their area" and consider the public health advice in the country they plan to visit.

Someone living outside Tier 4 can transit into or through a Tier 4 area to travel abroad if they need to.

People are also warned to check travel advice from the FCDO and what rules are in place at their destination. For many countries the FCDO is advising against "all but essential travel".

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