Italy is to join other European countries in imposing a ban on passenger flights from Britain, the foreign minister said Sunday, as the British government warned that a new more infectious strain of the virus was “out of control”.
“The United Kingdom has issued an alert concerning a new strain of Covid-19,” Luigi Di Maio wrote on his Facebook account. “As the government, our duty is to protect Italians and for this reason… we will sign, with the health minister, a decree suspending flights to and from Britain,” he said, without specifying when the measure would come into effect.
According to the Sky TG-24 news channel, boarding of flights from Rome’s main Fiumicino airport had already been blocked.
In a health ministry statement issued on Sunday afternoon, Health Minister Roberto Speranza added that he had signed a decree “which blocks flights from Great Britain and prohibits entry into Italy of people who have stayed there during the last 14 days”.
Anyone already in Italy who recently travelled from Britain must be tested for coronavirus, the statement added.
“The variant of Covid recently discovered in London is worrying and will have to be further investigated by our scientists. In the meantime, we choose the path of greatest caution,” Speranza added.