1,500 trucks were stranded in England on Tuesday
LONDON — quite 1,500 trucks were stranded in England on Tuesday morning amid fears that Britain could face food shortages if travel restrictions put in situ to slow the spread of a replacement strain of the coronavirus aren’t lifted soon.
Dozens of nations round the world have slapped tough travel curbs on the U.K. in recent days: From Canada to India, nations banned flights from Britain, while France barred the entry of trucks from the country for 48 hours from late Sunday while the strain is assessed.
Home Secretary Priti Patel told BBC radio that British government is “speaking constantly” with France to realize a swift resolution so as to urge freight moving again. within the meantime, trucks were piling up in Kent, the county in southeast England that’s home to a number of the foremost popular cross-Channel ports.
Patel said 650 vehicles were lined abreast of the most highway into the Port of Dover, while another 873 had been redirected to the nearby disused Manston Airport.
“It’s in both our interests, both countries to make sure that we’ve flow, and in fact there are European hauliers immediately who want to be going home,” she said.
While the French ban doesn’t prevent trucks from entering Britain, the move stoked worries about shortages at a time of year when the U.K. produces little or no of its food and relies heavily on produce delivered from Europe by truck.
Many trucks that carry cargo from Britain to the continent return laden with goods. The fear is which will fall off. Also, some drivers or their employers might decide against entering Britain for fear they won’t be ready to revisit home.
Given that around 10,000 trucks undergo the Dover a day , accounting for about 20% of the country’s trade goods, retailers are becoming increasingly concerned if there’s no resolution soon.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at British Retail Consortium, warned of potential shortages of food like lettuce, vegetables and fresh fruit, after Christmas if the borders aren’t “running just about freely” from Wednesday.
“The problem actually is empty lorries, therefore the empty lorries which are now stuck in Kent, they have to urge back to places like Spain to select up subsequent consignment of raspberries and strawberries and that they got to revisit within subsequent day approximately , otherwise we’ll see disruption,” he said.
Over the weekend, Johnson imposed strict lockdown measures in London and neighboring areas amid mounting concerns over the new variant to the virus.
The chief executive of BioNTech — the German drug company behind a vaccine now being unrolled within the U.K. et al. — said he was confident that its shot would work against the new variant, but further studies are got to be completely sure.
Ugur Sahin said Tuesday that “we don’t know at the instant if our vaccine is additionally ready to provide protection against this new variant” but because the proteins on the variant are 99% an equivalent because the prevailing strains BioNTech has “scientific confidence” within the vaccine.
Johnson said early indications are that the variant is 70% more transmissible and is driving the rapid spread of infections within the capital and surrounding areas.
As a result, he scrapped a planned relaxation of rules over Christmastime for many people and imposed other tough new restrictions within the affected zone. No indoor mixing of households are going to be allowed, and only essential travel are going to be permitted.
The virus is blamed for 1.7 million deaths worldwide, including nearly 68,000 in Britain, the second-highest price in Europe, behind Italy’s 69,000.
The chaos at the border comes at a time of giant uncertainty for Britain, but fortnight before it completes its exit from the EU and frees itself from the bloc’s rules. Talks on a post-Brexit trade relationship between the 2 sides are deadlocked.