UK, France Hold Talks to Reopen Border


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said that Britain and France are working to unblock the cross-channel trade “as fast as possible.”…reports Asian Lite News

More than 1,500 trucks remain stranded in Kent after France shut the border over fears of a new variant of coronavirus. Meantime the politicians are thrashing out a plan to reopen the border to trade and travel.

France has closed its border with Britain for 48 hours, with no lorries or ferry passengers able to sail from the port of Dover, the BBC reported.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said that Britain and France are working to unblock the cross-channel trade “as fast as possible.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson with French President Emmanuel Macron

Johnson made the statement when he was speaking at a virtual press conference at Downing Street after the French government banned trucks entering from Britain over concerns about the highly transmissible new coronavirus strain, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Johnson said he just had “a very good call” with French President Emmanuel Macron to solve the issue.

“I have just spoken to President Macron, we had a very good call. And we both understand each other’s positions and want to resolve these problems as fast as possible,” said the Prime Minister.

“We are working with our friends across the Channel to unblock the flow of trade as fast as possible,” he said.

Johnson said the disruption at Dover will not affect the vast majority of food and medical supplies, adding that the government has been preparing for such a situation for a while.

“These delays are only occurring at Dover, only affect human-handled freight and that is only 20 per cent of the total arriving from or departing to the European continent,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that he understands the anxieties of the other countries over the new virus strain, pledging to work with other countries to develop treatment.

More than 40 countries including Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and Bulgaria have announced travel restrictions from Britain following the disclosure that the highly infectious new strain is widespread in parts of Britain.

Also on Monday, European Union member states will in Brussels to discuss a co-ordinated response to the development.

The new variant, the discovery of which was announced by Johnson on December 19, has spread quickly in London and south-east England, but health officials have said that there was no evidence that it is more deadly or would react differently to vaccines.

According to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the new variant, which may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible, was “getting out of control”.

From Sunday morning, London, the South East and East of England moved into Tier Four restrictions, which will be broadly similar to national restrictions introduced in England in November.

The planned relaxation of coronavirus rules for Christmas has been scrapped for a large part of southeast England, and cut to one day for rest of the region.

The restrictions will last for two weeks and will be reviewed on December 30.

Also Read: UK media regulator fines Republic TV for hate speech

Also Read: India Suspends all flights from UK