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UK to start mass testing of lorry drivers after France ends journey ban


he UK will start a mass testing programme at its ports after an settlement was reached to reopen its border with France.

The mass testing programme for HGV drivers will get underway to alleviate congestion at ports, the Division for Transport mentioned.

French authorities introduced that journeys from the UK might be allowed to renew on Wednesday after the coronavirus ban was lifted, however these in search of to journey will need to have a damaging take a look at outcome.

The protocol agreed with the French authorities might be reviewed on December 31 however might run till January 6, the Division for Transport (DfT) mentioned.

All lorry drivers, no matter nationality, would require a lateral stream take a look at, which might present ends in about half-hour.

The French authorities will even perform pattern testing on incoming freight to the UK, the DfT mentioned.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps mentioned: “I’m happy that now we have made this essential progress with our French counterparts this night.

“This protocol will see the French border reopen to these travelling for pressing causes, supplied they’ve a licensed damaging Covid take a look at.

“We proceed to induce hauliers to not journey to Kent till additional discover as we work to alleviate congestion at ports.”

The journey ban was imposed in response to fears concerning the unfold of the extra infectious coronavirus pressure, which is spreading within the UK.

In a press launch, the French international affairs ministry mentioned that from 11pm UK time (midnight in France) there can be a “restricted resumption of the motion of individuals from the UK to France topic to damaging well being checks delicate to the variant”.


Lorry drivers have been compelled to sleep of their automobiles in a single day

/ Getty Pictures )

The assertion mentioned {that a} damaging take a look at outcome, taken lower than 72 hours earlier than the journey, is required and this may be both a “PCR or antigen take a look at” delicate to the brand new variant.

Those that could make journeys embrace French and EU residents, British or third-party nationals who usually stay in France or the EU, in addition to another teams.

Eurotunnel mentioned solely pre-booked passengers who had already examined damaging ought to go to its terminal.

“From 23:00hrs on 22/12/2020, to journey to France passengers will want: – A damaging outcome from a Covid-19 take a look at accepted by the French Authorities – Taken within the final 72 hours – An e-mail or SMS certificates issued by the testing facility.

“Please make sure you meet the French Authorities’s standards earlier than travelling to our terminal.

“There isn’t a Covid-19 testing facility at Eurotunnel. Go to our web site to ebook or amend tickets. PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE WITHOUT A BOOKING AS WE ARE FULLY BOOKED.”

Greater than 2,800 HGVs had been caught in Kent on Tuesday afternoon because of the disruption.

The French determination to ease its restrictions got here after the European Fee beneficial a joint method from EU members in response to the mutant VUI 202012/1 coronavirus.

The EU-wide method beneficial by the fee would permit important journey, and transit of passengers must be facilitated.

Flight and practice bans “must be discontinued given the necessity to guarantee important journey and keep away from provide chain disruptions”, the fee mentioned.

EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders mentioned: “Member states ought to take co-ordinated motion to discourage non-essential journey between the UK and the EU.”

However “on the identical time, blanket journey bans mustn’t forestall hundreds of EU and UK residents from returning to their houses”.

Transport commissioner Adina Valean mentioned: “Throughout the EU, it’s essential that transport employees are exempted from any restrictive measures.”

Andrew Opie, director of meals and sustainability on the British Retail Consortium (BRC), instructed the Enterprise Choose Committee: “If we don’t see the empty vehicles, which have already delivered to warehouses and shops, getting again over the Channel, they won’t be able to choose up the following consignment of recent fruit, greens, salad greens.

“What we’ve been instructed by members is that except these vehicles can begin travelling once more and return to Spain and Portugal and different components of Europe, we can have issues with recent produce from December 27.”

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