UK cut off over new COVID strain

Canceled Christmas plans, chaos at the ports, and cut off from much of the EU.

As the United Kingdom battles a new strain of the coronavirus.

France, Germany, Italy, and Canada are among the growing number of countries to cut off travel to the UK.

Causing international visitors to rush to leave London.

France has shut its border not only to arrivals but also to trucks from the UK.

Closing off one of the most important trade arteries with mainland Europe.

And forcing the government to stack trucks in Kent and hold cargo in a nearby airport.

This all comes days before the UK is due to exit the EU's orbit with - or without - a trade deal on Dec. 31.

The closure will affect the export of goods and the import of food for British supermarkets if, as expected, European drivers refuse to travel.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher restrictions on more than 16 million people in England less than a week before Christmas.

Shortly after, there was a dash to train stations as people tried to travel home before restrictions came into force.

Johnson said the new variant was a more infectious strain of the coronavirus, though added that there was no evidence that it was more lethal or caused a more severe illness.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain was simply seeing what was already at large in other countries.

“We've detected that first, but we know already that the cases have been found in continental Europe and other countries, including countries which have placed travel bans in the Netherlands, for example, actually have much higher case rates per 100,000 than the UK at the moment.”

UK stocks fell to a near three-week low on Monday and European shares have also slumped.

Hong Kong is also due to ban all flights arriving from the United Kingdom from midnight, becoming the first city in Asia to do so.