France reopens its border with the UK for travelers and truck drivers who test negative for Covid-19 after closing the route for 48 hours to prepare for measures against a new virus in the UK Did.
The first vehicle began to flow into the EU early Wednesday after the ferry from Dover arrived in Calais, AFP reported from Calais.
The sudden closure of the French border for all travelers from the UK on Sunday night severely disrupted important cargo routes between the UK and Europe via the ferry and the Channel Tunnel.
The pound rose as the frontier reopened, rising about 0.5% to $ 1.3429 in London on Wednesday. Sterling fell below $ 1.32 on Monday as investors responded to the UK’s announcement of restrictions on fighting new virus stocks followed by a series of travel bans.
Until at least January 6, only French and EU citizens or residents who have a truck driver and an essential reason to travel and have a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours can enter France.
British troops are being deployed to test truck drivers in a large logistical support operation starting Wednesday morning, but ministers say it will take days for the unprocessed portion of thousands of vehicles to be cleared. I admit.
France does not claim the so-called PCR test, which usually takes at least a day to return results, but said it requires the test to be sensitive to new variants.
British officials persuaded Paris that the Covid-19 in-situ 20-minute lateral flow test is not a PCR test that takes much longer to process and can lead to significant delays at the border. , Persuaded the carrier to use it.
The EU and more than 50 countries have banned travel from the UK after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of a new highly infectious coronavirus variant.
France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex has decided to reopen the border, allowing cargo to cross the “short strait”, Britain’s main trade route for time-sensitive deliveries containing fresh food. You can resume the movement.
The UK was preparing to introduce a lateral flow test at the temporary truck park at Manston Air Force Base and on the roadside in Kent, where trucks are lined up in huge rows.
British Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps welcomed the agreement on the new protocol with France, but “requested carriers not to travel to Kent until further notice to alleviate port congestion. I’m continuing. “
Duncan Buchanan of the British Road Transport Association said he expects up to 7,000 trucks in the UK to wait for intersections, not only in Kent’s coastal counties, but also in warehouses waiting. It was.
One of the factors behind President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to abruptly close the border, some British officials, is what the unconsensual Brexit will look like when the transition period ends on January 1. I think it was a desire to taste in Britain.
Macron’s office said the border was closed for health reasons, unrelated to Brexit. “It’s not about revenge, it’s about taking responsibility,” said a French official.
According to the carrier, thousands of European truck drivers, nearly 1,000 of whom are French, are stuck on the English side of the channel.
However, the chairman of a major fresh food supplier said many vehicles have not yet departed for the channel port. “What you see on TV is just a small part of the real picture … There are thousands of trucks in Rayby and Depot waiting to return to Dover,” he said.
Retail industry executives have warned UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs officials that some fresh fruits and other products may begin to run short by the weekend.
“Everyone’s Christmas dinner is safe,” said Andrew Opie, a UK retail consortium, but the supply chain had to start moving. “If the truck is not seen returning through the channel, the truck will not be able to receive the next shipment of fresh fruits and vegetables. [from Europe] I rely on this time of year. “
Lufthansa will help meet demand on Wednesday by adding a special freighter to carry 80 tonnes of fresh food, including fruits and vegetables, from Frankfurt to Sheffield.
Tesco, a leading UK supermarket chain, said it has introduced more item restrictions on certain product lines.
You can purchase 1 pack of toilet paper, up to 3 fresh eggs, rice, soap and hand wash. These limits will be added to the per-item limits for flour, dried pasta, wipes and antibacterial wipes, which have been in effect since September.
However, in an email to members of the Clubcard loyalty scheme, the company urged customers to “shop as usual” and stated that inventory levels were good.
“We will continue to have plenty of fresh products available at this time of the year, including lettuce, cauliflower and citrus fruits imported from France.”
Most of southeastern England, including London, is currently blocked at the highest level of government regulation, with only essential stores open.
Patrick Valence, Britain’s chief scientific adviser, warned on Monday that new stocks could spread nationwide, imposing strict restrictions on more regions.
Brussels urged EU member states to lift the full travel ban in the UK earlier on Tuesday. EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said: “The blanket travel ban does not prevent thousands of EU and British citizens from returning home.”
Reported by Victor Mallet and Domitille Alain in Paris, Michael Peel and Sam Fleming in Brussels, George Parker in London, Danielle Thomas, Jonathan Erie, Philip George Addis and Adam Samson
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