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China will suspend UK flights indefinitely over fears of new Covid strain

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Key Points
  • China will suspend direct flights to and from Britain indefinitely over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus, Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
  • Countries across the globe are shutting their borders to Britain after the emergence of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain.
  • China barred non-Chinese travelers from Britain last month, including those with valid visas and residence permits, because of rising coronavirus cases.
People walk in Beijing airport on November 6, 2020, after China banned foreign arrivals from France and a host of other countries, the latest in a growing number of entry bans as China closes itself off from a world still battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

China will suspend direct flights to and from Britain indefinitely over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus, Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

"After much consideration, China has decided to take reference from other countries and suspend flights to and from UK," Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.

"China will closely monitor relevant developments and dynamically adjust control measures depending on the situation," Wang said.

Countries across the globe are shutting their borders to Britain after the emergence of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain.

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New Covid strain in United Kingdom leads to travel restrictions in Europe

There are currently eight weekly flights between mainland China and Britain, according to aviation data provider Variflight, including one each by Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.

British Airways operates two flights a week from London to Shanghai.

China barred non-Chinese travelers from Britain last month, including those with valid visas and residence permits, because of rising coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, the China visa application center in the Scottish capital Edinburgh will temporarily close from Dec. 29 until further notice, in accordance with government requirements, a notice on the centre's website showed on Thursday.

All of mainland Scotland will move to the toughest of four-tiered coronavirus restrictions from Saturday.

The two Chinese visa centers in England — in London and Manchester — said on Tuesday they would close from Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, respectively, as fears over the new coronavirus strain grew.

Another China visa center in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been closed since March.