British Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrates a emergency meeting after France closed its ports to UK transport and other countries canceled flights for fear of the new strain of coronavirus.
Johnson will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee, in which the main ministers will participate, before the “significant alteration” of transport, especially in the port of Dover, in the south-east of England, where hundreds of trucks with cargo pass every day to and from France.
Many countries, including France, Belgium, Italy, Ireland or the Netherlands, decided suspend flights after the British Government tightened restrictions on the movement of the population in London and the southeast of England due to the alarming increase in cases of covid-19, which experts link to a new variant of the highly contagious coronavirus.
They ask truckers not to go to Dover
Faced with the foreseeable chaos in Kent County, where Dover is located, the British authorities have asked truckers carrying cargo not to go to that area due to possible congestion. With the suspension by France of traffic with the United Kingdom, the British authorities fear a impact on the flow of goods, especially food, from the European Union (EU) a few days before the Christmas holidays.
Britain’s Transport Minister Grant Shapps has asked people, including truck drivers, to avoid visiting the Channel ports as “we expect a significant alteration in the area“and added that his department works with local authorities in Kent to apply contingency measures to” minimize disruption to traffic in the area. ”
Problems for product entry
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that closing to traffic by France may create import and export “difficulties” from the UK “in a busy Christmas season.”
Andrew Opie, director of the BRC in the area of food, indicated this Monday that a “prolonged” alteration can also create difficulties towards the end of the transition period with the European bloc on December 31st. “While goods can enter from France, few transport companies are going to want to send trucks and drivers to the UK without the guarantee that they can get back to the EU on time (before the transition period ends),” he added. “This is one key supply path of fresh produce this time of year, “Opie said.
Faced with this situation, Scotland’s chief minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said it is “imperative” that the British government request an extension of the transition period with the EU. British Health Minister Matt Hancock admitted in statements to the media that the new variant of the coronavirus is “out of control” and he did not rule out that the new movement restrictions have to be maintained for several months.
The ferry terminal in Dover, in the southeast of England, announced last night its closure to traffic due to restrictions imposed in France. Like Dover, the Eurotunnel, which links the United Kingdom and France through the tunnel under the English Channel, indicated last night that it has suspended access to its terminal in Folkestone, in the southeast of England, for traffic to the port French for Calais.
The medical adviser of Health in England, Yvonne Doyle, described last night as “serious concern” the rise in infections of covid-19 in the United Kingdom, which reached 35,928 this Sunday, almost double the number recorded a week ago.
According to British scientists, the new strain speeds up transmission up to 70% of the virus and seems responsible for the disturbing increase in infections in London and several counties in the south-east and east of England. Johnson decided on Saturday to place London and the southeast of England at risk level 4 – serious – with the closure of stores that sell non-essential items, gyms or cinemas.
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