Netherlands, Panama ban all flights from South Africa over Covid-19 mutation

AMSTERDAM/PANAMA CITY (REUTERS) – The Netherlands on Monday (Dec 21) joined a range of nations banning flights from South Africa to stop the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus.

The Dutch government said all passenger flights were banned with immediate effect until Jan 1 at the latest.

An exception would be made for medical workers, it said, while cargo flights were also still allowed.

Panama beginning midnight will also deny entry to travellers who have been to South Africa, as well as the United Kingdom in the last 20 days to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus strain, the health ministry said on Monday.

The ban is temporary and applies to passengers entering by air, land or sea, the ministry said in a government publication. It did not specify a date for the measures to conclude.

The Netherlands on Sunday already banned all passenger flights and ferries from Britain over the same issue.

At least five countries and airlines, including Germany and Turkey, were reported to have banned flights to South Africa on Monday, after a new genetic mutation of Covid-19 had been found there and is believed to be responsible for a recent surge in infections.

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