The new strain could be up to 70 percent more infectious, the United Kingdom has said, prompting its European neighbours and several other countries including Canada and Iran to close their doors to travellers from the country.

Several countries have banned or will ban flights and travellers from the UK after the British government said on Sunday that the spread of a more-infectious new strain of the coronavirus was now “out of control”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists announced that the new strain had led to spiralling infection numbers.

The UK government tightened its COVID-19 restrictions for London and nearby areas, disrupting Christmas holiday plans for millions.

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