People stroll previous the closed entrance of the Eurostar terminal at Brussels South railway station after Britain’s European neighbors started closing their doorways to vacationers from the United Kingdom amid alarm a couple of quickly spreading strain of coronavirus, in Brussels, Belgium December 21, 2020.
Yves Herman | Reuters
LONDON — Anxious, indignant, and alone. That’s how many individuals in Britain are feeling simply two days earlier than Christmas, as a new Covid variant that appears to transmit extra shortly spreads throughout the nation.
The U.Ok. authorities mentioned on Saturday that it had no selection however to ban round 18 million individuals from visiting different households on Christmas Day, scuppering festive plans for individuals up and down the nation.
Since then, dozens of nations world wide have closed their doorways to Brits in an effort to forestall the new variant spreading amongst their very own populations.
Jon from the London suburb of Surbiton, who didn’t wish to share his full identify, instructed CNBC that it feels prefer it did again in March when the coronavirus first hit Europe, solely with out the sunshine and lengthy days. “I think there was more hope back then,” he mentioned.
Jon mentioned he is “very concerned” in regards to the new variant of the coronavirus. “If it keeps changing, will these vaccinations work?” he mentioned. “Will it keep changing?”
Experts consider Covid vaccines are prone to shield towards the new strain, however the WHO and others are operating research to verify whether or not it has any affect on vaccine efficacy.
Jon mentioned he is personally “had enough,” nevertheless it’s the youthful technology he feels actually sorry for, together with the likes of his daughter who is 24.
“Perhaps they should be giving the vaccine to those that can get the economy back on its feet before giving it to the elderly isolated in homes,” he mentioned.
One shiny spot for the nation is that vaccines are already being rolled out, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying this week that over 500,000 individuals had already acquired the primary dose of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
Despite this, nevertheless, Jon is not significantly optimistic about 2021 — particularly the primary half of the yr. “All we can do is carry on,” he mentioned. “On the positive side, I believe it’s brought the street and neighbors closer together.”
More than 40 international locations world wide have restricted journey from the U.Ok. since Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s press convention on Saturday.
In Europe, that features Ireland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, and out of doors of the continent it consists of Canada, Argentina and Israel.
France additionally closed its borders to the U.Ok., blocking freight transport accompanied by drivers. The transfer noticed over 1,000 vans backed up throughout Kent, though on Wednesday borders are resulting from reopen to passengers from England.
A drive sits within the cab of his lorry whereas parked on the M20 in Kent after the Port of Dover was closed after the French authorities’s announcement it won’t settle for any passengers arriving from the UK.
Steve Parsons | PA Images | Getty Images
“Jokes aside of what items might be missing from our Christmas dinners as a result of the closed border between France and the U.K., the queues of trucks at Dover show how much we depend on good relations with our European partners,” mentioned Kate Baldwin, a communications skilled in London.
“As much as we all want an end to the horrendous year we’ve endured, I can’t help think that in 2021 the U.K. will simply move from one crisis into another with Brexit.”
George Blackwell, a 28-year-old British expat residing in Dubai, instructed CNBC he flew to London on Dec. 18 to be together with his household for Christmas Day. He was resulting from keep till Dec. 28 however he flew again to the United Arab Emirates on Dec. 21, simply three days after touchdown.
“The departure board at the airport on the way back was a long list of cancellations and Dubai seemingly the only open destination,” mentioned Blackwell, who is a supervisor at a house equipment firm. “The decision to return was a difficult family decision, but I felt I needed to return to my country of residence in fear of another global lockdown.”
During his transient stint within the U.Ok., Blackwell mentioned it felt like there was an entire lack of knowledge in regards to the significance of the new strain of the virus.
“It was like a Hunger Games movie,” Blackwell mentioned. “The total lack of understanding from the public as to how serious the virus really is made for an unnerving atmosphere which had me on edge the entire time I was there.”
The second it was introduced that London was going to be put into Tier 4 – the strictest lockdown tier in England – 1000’s of individuals tried to flee the town.
Trains out of St. Pancras practice station in central London have been packed full of individuals making an attempt to flee a metropolis with one of many highest charges of the coronavirus, probably spreading the virus to different elements of the nation.
Lynne Harvey, 71, instructed CNBC she’s “not too concerned about the mutated virus,” including that she understands “its transmission is faster but not more virulent.”
“We just need to continue masking, spacing and washing hands. I have always worn disposable gloves when shopping as I’m classed as extremely vulnerable,” she added.
Harvey mentioned she would additionally wish to see regulation enforcement get stricter with people who break the principles. “I think a lot of people are far too complacent compared to March and not socially distancing … I think this country is far too soft on people flaunting the recommendations, bring in the Army.”
— Natasha Turak contributed to this report