Covid-19: Dover port halts exports to France for 48 hours

Covid-19: Dover port halts exports to France for 48 hours

France will stop lorry movements from the UK for 48 hours in the wake of fresh concerns over the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in the UK.

The move means outbound traffic from Dover will stop.

Ministers and officials will discuss the move at the government’s COBRA emergency committee on Monday.

Freight from France to the UK will be allowed, but there are fears lorry drivers will not travel to avoid being stuck in the UK.

The Port of Dover is closed to traffic leaving the UK “until further notice” due to border restrictions in France, port authorities said in a statement.

“Both accompanied freight and passenger customers are asked not to travel to the port,” it said. “We understand that the restrictions will be in place for 48 hours from midnight.”

“Tonight’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France has the potential to cause serious disruption to UK Christmas fresh food supplies – and exports of UK food and drink,” Food and Drink Federation (FDF) chief executive Ian Wright warned.

“Continental truckers will not want to travel here if they have a real fear of getting marooned.

“The Government must very urgently persuade the French government to exempt accompanied freight from its ban.”

French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbarisaid France was suspending all traffic from the UK from midnight for at least 48 hours.

A number of countries have banned or are considering stopping flights from the UK following the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus.

Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium are all halting flights, and other nations are considering the move.

Trains to Belgium are also stopping.

Eurotunnel is suspending access to its Folkestone terminal from 22:00 GMT for traffic and freight heading to Calais in France.

Coronavirus cases in the UK have risen by 35,928 – nearly double the number recorded last Sunday, figures show.

Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle said the “sharp” rise in cases was of “serious concern”.

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that a new variant of the virus was “getting out of control”.

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