David King says he’s ‘frustrated’ over Covid handling
Swathes of countries across Europe and beyond have now begun to close borders to UK travellers following the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19 in the south of England. London and surrounding areas have been thrown into a Tier 4 lockdown following a sharp rise in cases. The new variant was detected last week.
The discovery has become a nightmare for international travel following what has already been an abysmal year for the travel industry.
Trading of goods has also been affected, with all accompanied freight from Britain now not permitted into France for the period.
Other European countries, such as Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and other have also banned UK passengers.
Canada and Morocco have also implemented temporary travel restrictions.
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How long will the border be shut?
France has imposed a travel ban on all passengers coming from the UK, which began at midnight on December 20.
The border has been closed temporarily for 48 hours after cases of the new Cover-19 variant soared in the southeast of England.
Eurostar has confirmed it was unable to run trains from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille or Amsterdam on Monday or Tuesday.
Trains to London from Paris will continue to operate.
The rail company has confirmed it plans to resume services to and from the UK on Wednesday.
The Eurotunnel said access to its UK site was prohibited from 10pm after its last train left at 9.34pm on Sunday.
Dover’s ferry terminal has also closed to “all accompanied traffic leaving the UK,” which includes freight.
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The move has sparked concerns among Britons believing they may need to panic buy due to a shortage of goods
Chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation Ian Wright told BBC Breakfast on Monday that there is “concern” around food supplies in the longer term, particularly after Christmas.
He said: “The problem is the return journey of drivers coming to the UK. If they cannot be guaranteed either that they will get out of the UK because of the congestion or that they will be able to secure a return journey full of whatever product it is, that’s going to make it much more unlikely for them to come in the first place.
“And, over time, because the transport system requires these round trips, that will reduce the ability of us to bring food into the country after Christmas if that takes effect.
“We need a pragmatic solution that gets drivers across the border and into the UK by whatever route in exactly the same way we had throughout the lockdown in March and in the earlier part of the year.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said there is no need to panic buy goods as most freight is unaffected by the new rules.
The Transport Secretary said hauliers were “quite used to anticipating disruption”, adding that there are usually variations in supply “all the time”.
He told Sky News on Monday: “The absolute key is to get this resolved as soon as possible. I’ll be speaking again to my opposite number Jean-Baptiste (Djebbari) later this morning.
“There’s a meeting taking place actually right now in Europe about it, in order to coordinate approaches.
“It’s not really in anybody’s particular interest to not have hauliers going across, not least because they are mostly European hauliers and the goods are mostly theirs, so they will not want them perishing any more than we would want the border closed.”
Asked if consumers will see shortages in supermarkets, Mr Shapps added: “The supply chain is pretty robust in as much as you get variations in supply all the time. For the most part, people won’t notice it.”
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