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Friday, July 30, 2021

Mexico and US welcome UK flights despite new coronavirus strain

Numerous countries ban British flights, hoping to contain a more contagious virus

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British flights still arrive in the US and Mexico as other countries have imposed a ban to prevent a new coronavirus spread. Photo: Facebook

The London Gatwick-Cancun route and all other flights between the United Kingdom and Mexico are safe for now.

Mexico is still allowing flights from across the pond while Britain struggles with a new, more contagious strain of coronavirus.

The United States has also held off restricting British arrivals.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he did not recommend the US join other countries in banning travel from the UK over the new coronavirus variant detected in southern England.

While health officials should “without a doubt keep an eye on it,” Fauci added, “We don’t want to overreact.”

Other destinations are more cautious, including several European and Latin American countries, which announced the suspension of flights and ships from the UK.

The first were the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, followed by Germany, France, Austria and Ireland. Israel later announced its own UK travel ban. Saudi Arabia decreed the suspension of all countries by land, sea or air for one to two weeks.

Canada banned flights from the UK for 72 hours starting Monday.

In Latin America, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and El Salvador also banned UK flights while Brazil, the country most affected by the pandemic in the region, issued no restrictions.

Mexico’s borders remained open, however. British Airways has 30 flights scheduled for either Mexico City or Cancun in January alone.

That could change, however, as Mexico’s government continues to debate travel policy.

Dr. José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico’s director general of epidemiology, said that vigilance will be maintained on the new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“We are going to be very attentive to the positions issued by the WHO, to the data issued by the European Union in the following days,” said Alomía. “This variant has not been found to cause more serious disease, let alone more lethal compared to other variants.”

He also confirmed that the new strain of coronavirus has already been detected in the United States and Brazil.

The new strain of coronavirus has a transmission capacity of 70%. Up to 62% of new infections in London are the result of this mutation of virus.

COVID-19 vaccines are still considered effective against the mutated strain.

“The new variant has no impact on vaccines that are still just as effective,” German minister Jens Spahn told public broadcaster ZDF.

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