Boris Johnson to hold emergency talks today after France closed its borders for freight and travel

Monday, 21st December 2020, 9:24 am
Updated Monday, 21st December 2020, 9:24 am

Numerous European countries have now banned travel from the UK, in response to the quickly-spreading mutated strain of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is holding emergency talks today (21 Dec) after the temporary travel bans have impacted freight from France.

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Emergency talks

The fast-moving new variant of the Covid-19 is thought to be 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains, and appears to be the cause of a rapid spread of new coronavirus infections in the UK.

The new variant has now spread to every region of England, alongside parts of Scotland and Wales.

As a result, France has banned both freight and travel from the UK. Boris Johnson will chair a crisis Cobra meeting with senior ministers and officials, over concerns that imported goods, specifically foodstuffs, could run out.

No lorries or ferry passengers will be able to sail from the port of Dover, and French hauliers will not travel to the UK if they cannot return home, which has caused concerns that food supplies could be impacted.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening (21 Dec), “Following the French Government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48hrs, we're asking the public & particularly hauliers not to travel to Kent ports or other routes to France.

“We expect significant disruption in the area.”

Several European countries responded to the Tier 4 lockdown in southeast England by announcing a travel ban from the UK, with Germany, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland and Bulgaria all announcing restrictions on travel.

European Union member states are expected to meet in Brussels in order to discuss a coordinated response.

Currently, some countries have introduced a ban for just two days, with some suspending flights until the end of January 2021.