Testing regime allows France to re-open border

23/12/2020

France has agreed to ease the UK travel ban it imposed following the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in England.

Admittance to France will be granted to those travelling for urgent reasons, including hauliers, French citizens, and British citizens with French residency but travellers need to have received a negative test result less than 72 hours before departure.

Rapid lateral flow tests, which can detect the new strain and give a result in about 30 minutes, will be used instead of so-called PCR tests, which can take over 24 hours.

NHS staff and the military will be deployed for testing.

The BBC reports that around 2,850 lorries have been stuck in Kent since the border shut on Sunday. Drivers will receive the result by text message which would give them the right to cross the Channel.

A 'protocol is still being finalised' for those drivers who test positive.

Planes, boats and Eurostar trains between the UK and France can resume travel on Wednesday morning (23 December).

Transport secretary Grant Shapps still warned hauliers from travelling to Kent and said it could take until Christmas for congestion to be relieved new ports.

Enough tests had been sent to Kent for those who wanted to return by Christmas he suggested.

He said: 'I am pleased that we have made this important progress with our French counterparts this evening. This protocol will see the French border reopen to those travelling for urgent reasons, provided they have a certified negative Covid test.

'We continue to urge hauliers not to travel to Kent until further notice as we work to alleviate congestion at ports.'

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