English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

UK finally shut border to reduce coronavirus impact

UK finally shut border to reduce coronavirus impact

The latest to close the border to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay is the UK. Home Secretary Priti Patel has called for the country's borders to be closed to stop people coming in from coronavirus hotspots as the infection spreads fast in the country. The UK currently has 9,640 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths.

This makes the UK one of the last few countries to close its border as compared to the European Union (EU) and the US, which had begun shutting down their borders to foreign travellers almost ten days back.

The British government is trying to stop flyers from entering the UK from countries affected by high levels of coronavirus like China, Iran, and the US. Though international travellers to the UK decreased considerably, an estimated 100,000 passengers are still arriving every day, which is around one-fifth of the regular number. The UK still has continuous flights from the US and Iran, which the government's scientific advisers felt might have brought in about 500 coronavirus cases to the country.

The US was one of the initial countries to ban travel with 26 European nations, barring UK and Ireland, on March 14. This led to disbelief among some of the European countries on what they felt was American discrimination against Europe.

As the situation deteriorated within some of the European Union (EU) nations, particularly Italy and Spain, the grouping mulled closing its borders to non-Europeans for 30 days on March 17. The EU nations are bound by the Schengen agreement, which allows citizens to move freely within the EU without visas. However, as the coronavirus infection began spreading, many panic-stricken countries began closing their borders unilaterally, forcing the EU to think of banning non-essential travel and avoid chaos.

Also wary of the EU ban on travellers are the refugees from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan, most of whom are stranded in Turkey with hope of making it to mainland Europe. Even Greece is host to tens of thousands of refugees who have been held in camps on many islands. The refugees feel that the coronavirus spread will give an excuse to European nations to bar their entry into Europe.

Already, the presence of millions of refugees in Turkey has sparked tensions on the Greece-Turkey border. On the other hand, anti-refugee, Rightwing people across many European countries are protesting against their governments over allowing asylum to refugees. Some have even travelled to Greece to show solidarity with local anti-asylum groups.

The EU consists of 26 member countries, while Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, despite being a part of Europe, maintain a separate identity as part of the European Free Trade Association. The coronavirus infection has hit Italy and Spain with full force. Tens of thousands have been infected while thousands have died due to coronavirus sparking fear among other EU nations

(With agency inputs).