LONDON (AP) – Trucks waiting inside and outside Britain for miles were stranded at airports on Monday as several countries imposed stricter travel restrictions over concerns about a new strain of the corona virus spreading in the southeastern UK.
Countries around the world have suspended flights to the UK, while France has banned trucks for 48 hours, while the new variant is being assessed. There were growing hopes on Monday, however, that France would allow traffic again and take quick corona virus tests when truck drivers arrive.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee on Monday amid growing concerns about new restrictions that could lead to food shortages if they are not replaced soon. The government has already insisted on a trip to Kent, a southeastern district where several ports are located.
Most of the perishable goods coming from France to Britain come in trucks. Goods carried by containers on ships, manufactured goods, etc. are not affected by the barrier.
Although the French ban did not prevent the English Channel from entering Britain, the confusion over the new rules added lengthy backups on both sides, with traffic already jammed by Christmas-related traffic and uncertainty about Britain’s future trade. Relations with the European Union.
About 10,000 lorries pass through Britain’s Port of Dover every day, accounting for about 20% of the UK’s merchandise trade. British Transport Secretary Grand Shops said France’s ban was “somewhat surprising” – but sought to calm the nerves by noting that Britain’s majority trade had not been affected.
Shops insisted that the public would not notice any shortage “for the most part”.
French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djibouti pointed out that a solution was coming. In a tweet, he said, “In the coming hours, at a European level, we will put in place a solid health protocol to restart the flow coming from the UK.”
In a loud voice, French President Emmanuel Macron told a cabinet meeting on Monday via video: “We will see a formal inspection as soon as we arrive.” Macron is recovering from his COVID-19 infection and has been working at the Elysee Palace.
Canada, India, Hungary and Switzerland are one of the latest countries to suspend flights from the UK. In the United States, the governor of New York has said he wants to ban flights from Britain to New York City. France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Ireland announced extensive restrictions on flights from the UK’s Euro tunnel on Sunday, and train services connecting Britain to major Europe have also been suspended.
The move comes after Johnson announced on Saturday that it would place London and southeastern regions under new tier 4 controls following warnings from its scientific advisers – genetic sequencing regimes using what is widely considered to be one of the world’s sophisticated regimes – that could detect a new variant of the corona virus..
Early Symptoms The new variant of the virus is more than 70% contagious and new infections spread rapidly in and around the capital, Johnson said. Johnson will meet with the Cobra Civil Accident Team on Monday amid warnings of “significant disruption” around ports on the English Channel.
The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that while preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that the new variant is “significantly more contagious”, there are no signs that the infections are more serious. However, experts emphasize that even if the new strain does not cause more deaths, more cases will inevitably lead to more hospital admissions and subsequent viral-related deaths.
The Stockholm-based company said some cases with the new variant had already been reported by Iceland, Denmark and the Netherlands. It also cited media reports on the cases in Belgium and Italy.
Roman Wolfel, president of the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology in Munich, said the types described in the UK were not found in patient samples screened in Germany. However, he noted that the UK Confederation for the Disposal of the Virus is best at discovering new strains.
In Brussels, experts from EU member states met on Monday to discuss the new variant.
The border turmoil has left Britain in a state of great uncertainty, just two weeks before the final stage of Britain’s exit from the EU.
Despite leaving the UK camp on 31 January, this is a period of change that will effectively see compliance with EU rules until the end of this year. Talks on a post-Brexit trade relationship are still stalled and are set to resume on Monday.
Retailers have eased fears of food shortages in the short term, but warned that problems could arise if travel bans last longer and the UK and EU fail to agree to a post-Brexit trade deal.
The British Retail Federation has warned that the closure of France-to-UK traffic could create trade “difficulties” during the busy Christmas season.
“Retailers are stockpiling goods before Christmas, which should prevent immediate problems,” said Andrew Oppy, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Association.
“However, the long closure of the French border will be an issue as the UK enters the final weeks before the end of the transition.”
The trade association Logistics UK has urged people to stay calm and not rush to supermarkets to stock up on goods.
“Shoppers should not panic at buying,” said Kevin Green, its marketing and communications director. “If inventory moves again today, the overall impact of new products coming to supermarkets should be minimal.”
Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Berlin, Thomas Adamson in Paris and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to the report.
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