Italy on Sunday joined other European countries in banning flights to and from the UK due to concerns over a new coronavirus strain that has led to a new lockdown in London.
“As a government, we have the duty to protect Italians. So for this reason, after alerting the British government, together with the Health Ministry we are about to sign an order to suspend flights with Great Britain,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
He did not specify, however, how long the flight ban will be in place.
The Italian government has imposed strict restrictions over the Christmas holidays to limit public movements and large gatherings that could spread the virus across the country, possibly sparking a third wave early next year.
Italians coming back from travels abroad from Dec. 21 to Jan. 6 will also be required to observe a two-week quarantine.
The news of an aggressive new strain of COVID-19 coming from the UK has prompted several European countries, including Belgium and the Netherlands, to halt air and rail service to Great Britain.