The border between the United Kingdom and France is to remain open over Christmas to ensure that hauliers and citizens are able to continue crossing the English Channel, the UK Transport Secretary tweeted Thursday.
Thousands of truck drivers were still waiting to cross the Channel after the two countries struck a deal earlier this week. France had closed its border with the UK over fears about a new Covid-19 variant.
“...we've agreed the UK/French border at Eurotunnel, Dover & Calais WILL remain open throughout Xmas in order to help hauliers & citizens return home as soon as possible,” Grant Shapps tweeted.
Under the deal struck on Tuesday, people need proof of a negative Covid-19 test conducted in the past 72 hours. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick cautioned on Wednesday that the process of testing all those stuck in gridlock could take days.
“There's going to be quite a lot of work to do in the next few days and this isn't going to be an issue which will be resolved immediately,” he told Sky News.
According to France’s ambassador to the UK, Catherine Colonna, 26 French firemen were sent to the port of Dover on Thursday morning to support efforts to carry out testing for truck drivers, bringing with them 10,000 coronavirus tests.