New Covid pressure leaves UK remoted, 1,500 vans stranded at border

French borders closed signal on the entrance into the port of Dover as a consequence of a brand new pressure of COVID-19 within the Japanese Dock the place the cross channel port is located with ferries departing to go to Calais in France on the 21st of December 2020, Dover, Kent, United Kingdom.

Andrew Aitchison | In photos through Getty Photographs

French and British officers are working to elevate a ban on freight motion imposed by France amid continent-wide concern over a brand new coronavirus pressure recognized within the U.Okay.

France activated the 48-hour border closure on Monday, and by Tuesday morning 1,500 vans have been caught in Kent, unable to depart the U.Okay, British House Secretary Priti Patel stated Tuesday. 

U.Okay. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been urging drivers to keep away from travelling by way of the affected counties of Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire. Passenger ferry and freight transport was additionally suspended on the main ports of Dover and Portsmouth, leaving a number of thousand ferry vacationers caught.    

Greater than 40 international locations have now suspended transport hyperlinks with the U.Okay. after a variation of the coronavirus — which well being officers say could possibly be as much as 70% extra transmissible — was discovered to be sweeping the nation. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has successfully cancelled Christmas plans for a lot of the nation and put some 17 million folks beneath strict lockdown guidelines. The coronavirus has already killed greater than 67,000 within the U.Okay. 

Efforts between the U.Okay. and France “to discover a decision” to the freight disruption are underway, Patel informed the BBC on Tuesday morning. 

“You may hear afterward as we speak by way of developments and updates,” she stated, including that getting truck drivers testing for Covid-19 at ports was a part of the deliberations. Any decision would must be agreed to by Johnson and French President Emmanual Macron, and would start from Wednesday, France’s minister for Europe stated. 

Transport for items coming into the U.Okay. from France was nonetheless operating, a Eurotunnel consultant stated Monday evening, and unaccompanied freight trailers have been nonetheless in a position to be shipped to France, Shapps stated. The present ban impacts accompanied freight. 

The news and the Christmas lockdown have induced panic shopping for, resulting in empty grocery store cabinets in some components of the U.Okay. Shapps stated that retailers remained well-stocked, however main U.Okay. chain Sainsbury’s warned that it might see shortages of sure contemporary meals inside days if the disruption stays.  

The disaster comes simply 9 days earlier than the U.Okay. is about to finish its transitional interval with the European Union, after voting to depart the bloc in 2016. On the time of writing, the 2 sides had failed to succeed in a brand new commerce association.

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