LONDON — It was one more reminder, delivered before dawn on Christmas morning, that Britain is not only an island nation, but one that finds itself increasingly alone.

A decision by the United States to require all airline passengers arriving from Britain to test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their departure, starting on Monday, was not so much a shock as it was another bitter pill in a somber holiday season.

There is the fast spread of a coronavirus variant feared to be more contagious. Dozens of nations have barred travelers from Britain from entering. Expanded lockdowns in the country will include 48 million people by Saturday. And thousands of trucks remain stranded along England’s coast even after France lifted a brief border blockade imposed over virus concerns.

Adding to the volatility was a last-minute Brexit deal with the European Union, which kept Britain from crashing out of the bloc without an agreement in place but was all the same a painful reminder of a decision that has divided the country.

the virus variant — which government statistics indicate accounts for half of all cases currently in England — led to the lockdown of London and southern England this week. Starting

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