The border lock opens a mystery about the EU health strategy, which during the second wave had managed to keep communications open between the Member States and avoid the chaos in passenger and freight transport experienced during the first wave.
For transport purposes, the UK remains a de facto member of the EU until December 31, so the ban on its flights and trains could herald an escalation of bans if the third wave precipitates or hits more virulently than the expected.
The isolation of the United Kingdom by plane, ship and train coincides with the final stretch of the negotiations on a trade agreement to avoid a drastic rupture on December 31, when the grace period agreed upon after the country’s departure from the EU expires on last January 31st.
The Johnson Executive thus runs into a perfect storm, caused by the final blow of Brexit and by the last blow of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.
Until now, in the absence of the resolution it takes at today’s meeting, the European Commission has urged community partners to avoid as far as possible restrictions on movement that would aggravate the enormous economic impact of the pandemic.
The community body recommends that no passengers be prohibited from entering, not even those coming from areas classified as high risk for the spread of the virus. Brussels believes that in those cases a test should be imposed upon entering the country or impose a quarantine.
The EU, on the other hand, remains closed to travelers from third countries, except in the case of visits considered essential or that come from the list of so-called safe countries, in which only a handful of countries appear at the moment (Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore and Thailand).
The United Kingdom, precisely, could become a third and unsafe country on January 1 (that is, with prohibited entry into the EU) if the negotiations underway in Brussels for a trade agreement do not come to fruition.