Saturday, December 4

France agrees to ease ban as UK urges hauliers to stay away



Officials in France have agreed to ease some restrictions on travellers entering the country from the UK following a surge in cases from a mutated form of the coronavirus.

The conditions set out by French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri will allow people to travel into the country providing they have a recent negative test result.

However it remains unclear whether the decision will ease congestion around Kent caused by a backlog of hauliers some of who will tonight spend a third night sleeping in their cabs on UK motorways, parking lots and lay-bys as their path to the continent is blocked.

French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebarri said: Planes, boats and Eurostar trains will 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. His UK counterpart Grant Shapps meanwhile has continued to urge truckers not to journey to Kent while the disruption continues. He tweeted: Good progress today and agreement with the French Government on borders.
We will provide an update on hauliers later this evening, but hauliers must still NOT travel to Kent this evening.

More than 2,800 HGVs were stuck in the county on Tuesday afternoon as a result of the disruption amid warnings from industry officials that further delay could impact British supermarkets after Christmas.

The French decision to ease its restrictions came after the European Commission recommended a joint approach from EU members in response to the mutant VUI 202012/1 coronavirus.

The EU-wide approach recommended by the commission would allow essential travel, and transit of passengers should be facilitated. Flight and train bans should be discontinued given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions, the commission said.

EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said: Member states should take co-ordinated action to discourage non-essential travel between the UK and the EU. But at the same time, blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes.