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News Article

AMLO: Mexico Won’t Close its Doors to UK Yet

By MBN Staff | Mon, 12/21/2020 - 12:32

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that no decision has been made on whether Mexico will shut its doors to flights from the UK following the outbreak of a new COVID-19 strain.

“Our specialists said to wait and not to take political decisions without having the technical elements (to do so),” said the president at this morning’s mañanera, reports El Financiero.

A week ago, the UK government  warned that a new variant of COVID-19 had been identified in south-east England. According to the BBC, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said around 60 local authorities had registered cases of the new variant. There was nothing to suggest that it is more harmful than the main variant, Hancock said, though the European Centre for Disease Control Prevention stressed that the new variant was “significantly more transmissible than previously circulating variants.”

A growing number of countries have closed their doors to flights arriving from the UK as national governments hope to avoid new outbreaks of the new variant. On Monday, the number hit 40, including Spain, India and Canada. Two days ago, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England’s south-eastern region, including the capital London, would re-enter complete lockdown with only essential activities remaining in operation.

Other nations have taken a similar tact to Mexico, choosing to wait for more information before making a decision on flights. Among them is the US, which has also said it will wait for more information before making a decision.

The UK’s new COVID-19 strain is one of many strains identified by experts since the worldwide outbreak in March and some scientists have said data is too incomplete to come to definite conclusions.

However, Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, has expressed his amazement at the US’ lack of response. According to NBC, Cuomo said “Today that variant is getting on a plane and landing at JFP (airport). How many times in life do you have to make the same mistake before you learn?”

Several major airlines fly direct between the UK and Mexico, including Mexico’s flag carrier airline, Aeroméxico, and the UK’s, British Airways, with others flying indirectly. Cancun is a major destination for British tourists, who are the third most important market for Mexico’s tourism industry and the largest in Europe, according to 2017 study from the Mexican government.

The aviation industry has already faced a torrid year at the hands of COVID-19. Around 6 million commercial flights have been lost since March due to the virus, with world passenger traffic plummeting by up to 60 percent according to 2019 figures, the International Civil Aviation Organization reports. Airlines have faced severe logistical and financial pressures due to restrictions on movement, with Aeroméxico filing for Chapter 11 protection in June, while Interjet has collapsed.

Photo by:   Gobierno de México
MBN Staff MBN Staff MBN staff