LATEST: France holds talks with EU governments over UK border closure

LATEST: France holds talks with EU governments over UK border closure
The road leading to the Port of Dover was empty on December 21st after France decided to ban all travel coming in from the UK due to the new strain of Covid-19 discovered across the Channel. Photo: AF
EU ministers met on Tuesday morning to decide whether or not to keep in place the ongoing transport ban on the United Kingdom, after the British government announced a new strain of Covid-19 was spreading fast through the south east.

Member states met in order to harmonise their measures taken towards the UK after the current 48-hour travel ban would run out at midnight on Tuesday.

A European diplomatic source told AFP that their objective would be to “reopen borders in a coordinated manner”.

An announcement is expected on Tuesday afternoon.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said: “The measures should enable our compatriots who are now in Britain and who had planned to return to France to spend the holidays to do so with new health rules that are being discussed and constructed.”

He did not mention non-French residents of France or people planning to visit France.

“We have some good ideas (on what measures to take), but we must first check them with our European partners,” a French government source told Le Parisien, following another government Defence Council meeting on Monday evening.

On Monday UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron to put aside his “anxiety” over the new train and reopen the border.
 
France banned all passenger travel from the UK, including French citizens and permanent residents of France, after the British government said they had discovered a new strain of the Covid-19 virus that could be “70 percent more contagious.”

All accompanied freight transport was also blocked leading to tailbacks of lorries on the English side of the Channel.

The French government said the 48 hours had served “to build a health protocol that should allow our fellow citizens who are now in the UK and planned on returning to France for the holidays to do so.”

Paris also advised its citizens in the UK to take Covid-19 tests in preparation for travelling to France, but according to reports in the French media many were struggling to find appointments to get a PCR test.

The transport ban temporarily hindered those planning on crossing over the Channel to spend Christmas with their loved ones to do so, not just from the UK to France, but also the opposite direction as many transport companies have temporarily shut down services from France to the UK.

READ ALSO: France's UK travel ban – who is affected and what happens next?

The World Health Organisation on Monday said the new Covid-19 strain was “not out of control”, but could “not be left to its own devices”.

Do you have questions on the travel situation? Email us at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer them.

 


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  1. This is the problem and always has been with the way various Governments handle this virus. Keep the ports closed to inbound traffic from the UK and bring back travel restrictions in France but this time use some common sense and stop lifting them every time there is a holiday.

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