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Lanes for frieght trucks are empty at the entrance to the closed ferry terminal at the Port of Dover in England. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Commission adopted a recommendation on Tuesday calling on the bloc's 27 member states to lift blanket bans on flights and travel from the U.K. in order to "ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions," while also discouraging non-essential travel.

Why it matters: A new coronavirus variant in England found to be 70% more transmissible prompted dozens of countries to ban travel from the U.K. this week, in a scene reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic.

  • The closures forced miles of freight trucks to be stuck in lines at the U.K.'s Port of Dover, which sees roughly 10,000 trucks per day and accounts for about 20% of the U.K.'s goods trade.
  • The European Commission recommended that coronavirus testing be required for essential travelers, and that rigorous contact tracing efforts be carried out involving people who traveled to or from the U.K. in the past 14 days.

Between the lines: The recommendation by the Commission is non-binding, but the message being sent by European leadership is clear: lift border closures as soon as possible and restore the flow of goods.

The big picture: The massive disruptions to border flows and supply chains due to the new variant came just days before the U.K. is set to end the Brexit transition period without a free trade agreement with the EU — its largest and closest trading partner.

Go deeper ... The coronavirus mutation in the U.K.: What you need to know

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.