LONDON – Thousands of truck drivers stranded in Britain on Wednesday were given a glowing hope that they might come home for Christmas as European authorities relaxed travel restrictions imposed in response to the emergence of a mutant strain of coronavirus.
The British Army has been called to help clear the gridlock caused by a convoy of trucks on the roads near Dover, the main ferry port for France and the continent.
“We are putting in place infrastructure. So there will be armed forces [Covid testing] Housing Secretary Robert Genrich told Sky News for the first time to help us set up and get through some backlogs.
Paris and London agreed late on Tuesday that drivers testing negative for the Kovid-19 could make a ferry to France. The decision was taken after most countries in the world closed their borders in Britain to include the new mutation.
Road Haulage Association estimates that there were 10,000 trucks Back-up near the port.
The new Kovid version is clearly so contagious that it prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to effectively cancel Christmas for millions.
The discovery of the variant, which may be 70 percent more permeable than the original, is expected to be widely available a few months ago in places such as Denmark, Belgium, Italy and Australia, causing a worldwide panic. The new wave has been sown.
The desperation of Dover caused brief skirmishes with police on Wednesday as some angry drivers. Many drivers unite their horns and raise their lights in despair.
Although officials gave the trucks the greenlight to move forward, Raluka Marian of the International Road Transport Union, the World Road Transport Association, told the BBC that the logistics of the mass test would be “a disaster”.
Marion warned that a 30-minute test for thousands of drivers could not be seen as clear until New Year’s Eve.
“We are happy that we finally have a deal, that the boundaries are open but at the same time this test is a big challenge for us and we don’t think it will work – the backlog cannot be cleared,” he said .
A kind of gesture, as curry, reduced the wait for some.
Member of UK-based Sikh International Relief Organization, Khalsa Aid, Water bottles, snacks and gave 800 hot meals of rice and chickpeas curry to the drivers, he said on Twitter, winning public acclaim in a season of goodwill.
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There is chaos on the border just a few days before Britain. The two sides are still out of the eleventh-hour trade agreement due to leave the European Union on 31 December.
Panic purchases were underway in some supermarkets in the capital London, which is under England’s strictest lockdown measures, while Brexit could cause further disruption in January, when a full customs duty comes into force.
On Tuesday, the European Commission advised that a blanket travel ban from the UK should be relaxed and people traveling home should be allowed to do so. However, border controls are governed by national policy, so each EU country can make its own rules.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Matthew Mulligan has contributed.