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Forty countries have blocked air, sea and land travel to and from the United Kingdom. Many European countries, Canada, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, and Colombia are among the countries. The reason is because of a new strain of COVID-19 that is spreading around the UK. The new coronavirus is a mutant - this means it has changed from the original virus that started spreading at the beginning of the year. Some nations have blocked transport links to the UK for a few days; others for at least two weeks. Many countries say they are reviewing the situation. The biggest problems are being caused by a travel ban from France. A lot of the UK's food comes across the English Channel from France.
The UK government says the mutant virus is 70 per cent more infectious than the original coronavirus. It said the mutant strain is so fast-spreading that it is "out of control". London and many other parts of the country are now in lockdown. The government has issued new rules about mixing with other people. This means most people will only be able to spend Christmas with the people they live with. They cannot travel to see any other family members or friends. An opposition leader said: "The news over the last 24 hours has been deeply disturbing. The number of coronavirus cases has nearly doubled in the last week." The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured people that there would be enough food.
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