European nations began imposing travel bans on the United Kingdom after it reported a more-infectious and “out of control” coronavirus variant.
Germany, Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands have halted most travel links including freight lorries.
Sweden, Austria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic also announced plans to bar flights from the United Kingdom.
The new variant in Britain has added a twist to a battle against the virus that many countries in Europe are waging.
The European Union on Monday would meet to discuss a more coordinated response.
However, top health officials said that there was no evidence the new variant was more deadly, or would react differently to vaccines, but added that it was proving to be up to 70% more transmissible.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new strain “was out of control. We have got to get it under control”, admitting that this was “an incredibly difficult end to frankly an awful year”.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restrictions for those areas, scrapping a planned relaxation of rules over the Christmas period for millions of people.
The travel curbs also compound problems for the United Kingdom as it finally exits the European Union on December 31 after a transition period this year. London and Brussels have so far failed to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, raising the prospect of chaos in goods traffic.
The number of coronavirus cases in Britain surged by 35,928 on Sunday, the highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic, and it recorded 326 deaths, taking the official toll to more than 67,000.