Iran said on Sunday it has extended a ban on flights from and to the UK till Jan. 19 over fear from the new coronavirus variant, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Abu Al-Qasim Jalali, an official with the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization, said the extension was taken upon a request from the Iranian Health Ministry.

Prior to the decision, the country’s official carrier IranAir conducted flights between Tehran and London, but with the new instructions, all flights for all carriers, including the transit flights via the UK airports are suspended.

Last month, the UK announced the discovery of a new fast-spreading COVID-19 strain, pushing many countries to suspend flights with the UK.

From its part, the World Health Organization asked European countries to redouble their health measures amid the new fast-spreading strain.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.