Ukraine avoids banning UK air traffic, relies on visa regime

The government of Ukraine announced that the country would not terminate air traffic with the United Kingdom unlike many other countries worldwide that have done so to avoid the spread of a new mutation of the COVID-19 virus.

On December 22, 2020, the cabinet of ministers of the country decided to monitor the situation regarding novel virus mutation without implementing any air travel restrictions for the UK. The ministers argued that Ukraine already limited the number of travelers flying between two countries using a visa regime.

“We have a visa regime with the [United Kingdom], which already limits the number of passengers between our countries. Now flights are operated mainly to return Ukrainians from studies from abroad home for Christmas holidays,” Vladyslav Krykliy, the Minister of Infrastructure, told local media.

However, the Minister outlined that the Ukrainian government encouraged citizens to refrain from traveling to certain regions of the UK, in particular its capital, where the spread of a new variant of virus was reported.

On December 21, 2020, more than 40 countries implemented the strict decision to suspend all air operations to the UK as the scientists counted that a new strain of the COVID-19, found in the country, could be up to 70% more infectious than the already known variant of the virus. Speaking to BBC, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary of the UK, warned that the situation of infections in the country is “getting out of control” as the new variant continues to spread quickly in London and South-East England. 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that a new mutation is believed to spread more rapidly than the previous version, but is doubted to be more deadly. Besides Ukraine, other countries that did not impose restrictions include the United States and the United Arab Emirates. 

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