Coronavirus | Britain, France ease transport ban

France and Britain will reopen cross-border travel Wednesday after a snap 48-hour ban to curb the spread of a new coronavirus variant threatened U.K. supply chains.

Much of Europe swiftly banned British travellers and U.K. freight entering their nations after the discovery of a more transmissible variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

On Tuesday, dramatic images showed hundreds of lorries backed up in Dover, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson facing growing pressure to resolve the deadlock even as the post-Brexit trade deal deadline loomed.

U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced late Tuesday that Britain and France had settled on a protocol that “will see the French border reopen to those travelling for urgent reasons, provided they have a certified negative COVID test”.

However, he urged lorry drivers not to head to the southern county of Kent in expectations of boarding a ferry or train.

French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri also confirmed that air travel, boats and Eurostar trains would “resume service as of tomorrow morning”.

“French nationals, people living in France and those with a legitimate reason will have to be carrying a negative test,” he said.

Despite the breakthrough in talks, congestion around the key southern port of Dover remains unlikely to recede in the short term.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 8:58:25 PM |

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