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China suspends all UK flights for indefinite period due to threat from 'British Virus'

China remains highly vigilant about the threat of “imported” virus cases from UK

Joining other Asian countries including South Korea, India and the Philippines, China has suspended direct flights to and from the United Kingdom for an indefinite period of time, citing the emergence of a new coronavirus strain, popularly dubbed the “British Virus”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Wang Wenbin, told a news conference in Beijing: “Given the exceptional nature of the virus mutation and its potential impact ... China has suspended flights between China and the UK after full assessment”.

According to Variflight, an information technology company specializing in the civil aviation data services, there are currently eight weekly flights between mainland China and Britain, including one each by Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines; all of which has been halted by China for an indefinite period.

Earlier this week, China suspended visa issuing facility in London as a measure against the new strain of COVID-19 and last month it barred non-Chinese travelers from Britain, including those with valid visas and residence permits.

According to multiple sources, the latest flight ban would also prohibit the return of UK-based Chinese nationals.

China joins Turkey and Canada as the latest major states to ban commercial flights to and from the UK for an unspecified period.

Hitherto, more than 50 states – including many European Union states – have suspended flights to the UK pending an assessment of the potency of the “British Virus”.

This bleak situation – coinciding as it does with the Christmas and New Year celebrations - presents the UK with considerable economic, political and even diplomatic challenges.

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