The UK Government has imposed new restrictions following the discovery of a new strain of COVID on mink farms in Denmark. Non-UK citizens arriving from Denmark are banned from entering the UK. UK citizens and flight crews arriving from Denmark have to self-isolate.
COVID and the Mink Farms in Denmark
In Denmark, some positive COVID tests have been linked to their mink farms. Danish health authorities became very concerned when a cluster of people in North Jutland contracted a unique variant of coronavirus. They raised the alarm. And, culled millions of animals at over 1,000 mink farms in an attempt to eradicate this strain of the virus. North Jutland is now in lockdown. All restaurants, pubs, cafes and sports activities are closed.
North Jutland, the affected area is now in lockdown. All restaurants, pubs, cafes and sports activities are closed.
Precautions Concerning Travel Between the UK and Denmark
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary of the UK, has announced a total ban on arrivals from Denmark. It is the first outright ban on arrivals from any country in the UK since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This reflects a serious concern regarding the transmission of a mutation of the coronavirus from the mink bred in Denmark to humans.
British citizens and permanent UK residents will still be allowed to enter the UK after travelling from Denmark. But, they, and all members of their household, must self-isolate for two weeks on arrival. Quarantine restrictions will also apply to air crews flying between the two countries. A very unpopular decision with the airlines.
Air Crews Arriving in the UK from Denmark Subject to Quarantine
Michael O’Leary, the boss of Ryanair was quick to announce his views on the new restrictions. He described the UK’s sudden prohibition on travel from Denmark as ‘idiotic’. The quarantine rule will also apply to pilots, cabin crew and their families. This is an unprecedented move in the fight against the coronavirus. Children of flight crews affected will not be able to attend school and partners and spouses will not be able to go to work. The crews themselves will be unable to fly other routes for two weeks. Until now, flight crews returning from “no-go” locations have been exempt from quarantine.
The airline is challenging the decision on the grounds that their crews never leave the aircraft during the turnaround at Copenhagen airport. All flight crews wear face masks and comply with all EU health guidelines. There have not been any cases of a crew member contracting COVID-19 on board one of their aircraft. But, Ryanair has been advised that the Transport Minister will not reverse his decision.
British Airways has also cancelled all flights between Heathrow and Copenhagen until 16 November at the earliest. Loganair, the Scottish airline, has suspended flights between Aberdeen and Esbjerg from 9 to 22 November. The Chief Medical Office of Scotland said it is a new strain and so it is appropriate to err on the side of caution.
Do you think the British Government is being over-cautious? Post your opinion in comments.