France to reopen border with England for COVID-clear travellers
France will reopen its borders to passengers from England on Wednesday, ending a blockade intended to stop the spread of a new coronavirus variant, but which has held up thousands of lorries before Christmas, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Much of the world shut its borders to Britain after a significantly more transmissible mutated coronavirus variant was discovered spreading swiftly across southern England.
With queues of trucks snaking to the horizon in England and some supermarket shelves stripped just days before Christmas, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrambled to get French President Emmanuel Macron to lift a ban on freight from Britain.
Late on Tuesday a deal was reached with Paris to allow French and other EU residents to return home, providing they have a negative COVID test that is less than 72 hours old.
Britain said it would begin handing out tests at multiple locations on Wednesday, but cautioned that the process would take time.
Earlier the European Commission advised that non-essential travel to and from Britain should be discouraged but said that people heading home should be allowed to do so, provided they undergo a COVID-19 test or quarantine for 10 days.
However, border controls are governed by national policy, so each EU country can have its own rules.
FOOD SUPPLY WORRIES
The United Kingdom’s effective COVID-19 quarantine came just nine days before it is due to part ways with the EU after a transition period - considered to be one of the biggest changes in post-World War Two British history.
Countries across Europe and beyond have suspended travel from Britain since the weekend. Germany imposed a ban on UK travellers from Tuesday that could remain in place until Jan. 6.
One exception was the United States, which does not intend to impose COVID-19 screenings for passengers from Britain.
Cases of the new strain have also been detected in some other countries, including Denmark and Italy. Experts said the prevalence in Britain might be down to better detection.
Britain’s border crisis led to some panic-buying: shoppers stripped shelves in some supermarkets of turkey, toilet rolls, bread and vegetables.
While the government said there was enough food for Christmas, market leader Tesco and No. 2 player Sainsbury’s both said food supplies would be affected if the disruption continued. Tesco said it had imposed temporary buying limits on some essential products.