After several months of fighting the coronavirus, many thought they could celebrate Christmas at home respecting the restrictions imposed by the health authorities. The new strain discovered in England, much more contagious than the others, disrupted plans, closed borders and separated families. Thus, thousands of European truck drivers were trapped in England, at the gates of the English Channel, crossing the Eurotunnel and arriving in France. A situation that brought with it endless queues of carriers waiting to leave the United Kingdom, who had to spend Christmas Eve in the truck waiting to take the quick test and obtain the pass that would give them the green light to enter France.
One of these carriers is Juan Antonio Simón, who has been living in Crevillent for more than 10 years. He arrived in England on Sunday December 20 through the Eurotunnel. “On Monday the 21st I unloaded at Haverhill, North London. Then I called the Grupo Fuentes company to ask for instructions. They told me that they had closed the border and that I should look for a service area and prepare to spend several days without leaving.
After that, this Algecireño stayed Monday and Tuesday in an area north of London “where I have not lacked anything: restaurant, shower and toilet.” While on December 22, “the company, around seven in the afternoon, told all the colleagues to go to Manston airport and there they set up the runway as a parking lot,” says Simón.
Meanwhile, at this site, the carriers were advancing positions as the British Army carried out the rapid tests. In the airport “They put portable toilets and every 100 meters there was a free fast food booth like hamburgers and hot dogs.
Desperation was evident in the atmosphere, “there are people of all nationalities, this is like a refugee camp».
In addition to fast food, there was also an NGO that gave them packs with bottles of water. Despite the dates so marked, Simón knew how to get the positive part. “Those of us who are here have been lucky, worse have happened to those who took the cut in the M-20 wagon, the one that goes to the Eurotunnel. When the border was closed, many drivers stayed on the shoulders of that highway, with absolutely nothing, those people have had a hard time, “he says.
The low temperatures in Great Britain did not help to cool the character of the carriers ‘trapped’ there. Rather they warmed up. «Here we are angry, this has been an arbitrary decision of some politicians to put pressure on Brexit. It has nothing to do with the virus. During the confinement “we have been working and there has been no problem. Now you want us to believe that this is because of a strain? It does not strain, “he adds.
Thus, it describes the procedure to follow. “We have no contact with anyone, I go alone in the truck, driving to the place where they unload me and there I deliver the papers through a window, of course, with all the existing precautions. I get in the truck and I go back ».
Without contact with anyone “it is very difficult for me to get infected while working.” On the contrary, “if you force me to stand for four days, I will have to use the shower and toilet, go to the restaurant or the supermarket. The risk is higher. Logic has absolutely none. That does make them angry.
He claims to be prepared with all the comforts in a conditioned trailer but «behind me is a van with two Romanian lads, one of them is sleeping on top of the wheel with a cushion ». Many were caught off guard by the situation.
This carrier claims to have nothing to object to the behavior of the English, “they are doing more than they can”, but this situation “has to do with the Brexit negotiations, they have wanted to tighten the nuts on the English and leave them depleted of products fresh. The trucks that are standing here should be loading and unloading goods to England. Now the traffic has stopped.
Thus, he sentences, “when all of Europe was confined we have been working every day and there has been no problem. Brexit is behind all this and we are the collateral damage.
Although the situation was not favorable, on Thursday the 24th, Christmas Eve, he and some colleagues from the company, having the trailers empty, “had a drink together to celebrate Christmas Eve” while waiting for the test. After obtaining the negative result and spending the whole night in the queue “to be let out of the airport”, embarked at Dover on the morning of December 25 and he arrived in France, hoping to be home on Monday the 28th. The adventure came to an end.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.