Eurotunnel to close from 10pm tonight to protect Europe from new Covid strain

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The Eurotunnel is set to close to all travellers from 10pm tonight, in a desperate bid to contain a new strain of the coronavirus.

The closure will reportedly last for at least 48 hours, and comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new lockdown in England and the south east.

Millions of Brits are now living under Tier 4 restrictions, with Christmas effectively cancelled.

A growing number of European nations have also banned flights from the UK.

Ireland and France have become the latest countries to ban travel from Britain, with the measures set to come force at midnight and last for at least 48 hours.

Earlier the Netherlands said it was stopping flights from the UK at least until the end of the year while Belgium has imposed a 24-hour ban on flights and rail links while it assesses the situation.

Italy is prohibiting entry to the country by anyone who had been in the UK in the last 14 days while flights are banned until January 6.

Austria and the Czech Republic are also imposing new restrictions, with Prague announcing stricter quarantine rules with anyone arriving in the country having spent at least 24 hours in UK territory required to self-isolate.

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The new variant of coronavirus is thought to be up to 70% more infectious than the original.

Concerns about the rapid spread of the disease were underlined with the publication of the latest official figures showing there had been a further 35,928 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Sunday.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: "This sharp and sudden increase is of serious concern."

She said most of the new cases were concentrated in London and the South East – where the new strain is thought to have originated – although it was too soon to say if they were linked to it.

  • Coronavirus

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