SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's health authorities said on Wednesday that the country will suspend flights from Britain till the end of this year in order to contain the spread of a new COVID-19 variant found in the European country.

Yoon Tae-ho, a senior official at the health ministry, told a press briefing that all flights coming from Britain will be halted from Wednesday through Dec. 31 in order to prevent import of the new COVID-19 strain discovered in Britain.

Flights from South Korea's western port city of Incheon to London will be maintained as usual.

Under the new measures, all arrivals from Britain will be put under a 14-day quarantine, and required to take an additional virus test when the quarantine is lifted.

Body temperature checks will be tightened on all arrivals from Britain, and all flight attendants will be required to receive the virus test.

The new COVID-19 variant reported in Britain is known to be more contagious.

In the past two months, a total of 15 arrivals from Britain have been tested positive for the coronavirus, including 11 South Koreans and four foreign nationals.