France border closure will not affect hauliers, says Shapps

PA

Lorry drivers will not be affected by France’s decision to close its borders to non-European Union countries from Sunday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the measure on Friday night, warning of a “great risk” from the new variants of Covid-19.

It comes after thousands of hauliers were left stranded in Kent in December when France closed its borders following the discovery of a fast-spreading coronavirus strain in the UK.

Coronavirus – Tue Dec 8, 2020
Coronavirus – Tue Dec 8, 2020

Mr Shapps insisted that trade would continue to “flow smoothly” across the Channel despite the new measures.

He tweeted: “French PM Jean Castex has announced that France is to close its borders to all countries outside the EU from Sunday.

“However, I can confirm that this does NOT apply to hauliers, so trade will continue to flow smoothly.”

Those wishing to enter France from other EU countries will need to show evidence of a negative Covid-19 test, Mr Castex said.

French PM Jean Castex has announced that France is to close its borders to all countries outside the EU from Sunday. However, I can confirm that this does NOT apply to hauliers, so trade will continue to flow smoothly.

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) January 29, 2021

The new measures, which include the closure of large shopping centres in France from Sunday, aim to avoid the economic cost of a third lockdown, Mr Castex added.

About 3,000 international lorry drivers were forced to spend Christmas Day in their cabs in Kent after the French temporarily closed their border in December.

The country later eased restrictions but required drivers to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in the previous 72 hours.

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