UK government opens more COVID testing locations for hauliers heading to France

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·2-min read
Freight lorries lined up on the M20 near Ashford, Kent, where hundreds of travellers are spending Christmas Day as they wait to resume their journey to the Port of Dover and across The Channel now that the borders with France have reopened. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
The move comes as a fresh effort to reduce disruption for drivers as they carry goods across the Channel. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

The UK has outlined further steps to help hauliers get tested for coronavirus before they travel to Kent or any port heading to France.

The move comes as a fresh effort to reduce disruption for drivers as they carry goods across the Channel.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Saturday that 10 new testing locations across the country will be created, with a further 10 opening on Sunday (3 January) and more being added next week.

The government is also offering to help any business set up a testing centre at its own premises to ensure trucks heading for France depart “COVID ready.”

Some 25,500 lorries have crossed the Channel since the French government introduced unprecedented restrictions due to the new coronavirus variant, which is 70% more transmissible.

Shapps said: “As a result of the heroic efforts of hundreds of military and civilian personnel who have worked hard over the past 10 days, we have made incredible progress in clearing the queues of drivers left stranded as a result of the French government’s actions.

“If we are to keep traffic flowing in Kent, it is essential drivers are tested before they travel down to the area and that they have a Kent Access Permit before heading to the border, and these new testing centres both at service stations and inside businesses, will help reduce delays.”

READ MORE: Thousands of lorries still stuck in Kent as France re-opens border

The British Army has also been deployed to offer support. Military personnel will be at 10 of these sites to provide COVID testing for haulage drivers, providing a negative result in the required 72-hour window before arriving in Kent, fast-tracking their access to the ports.

It comes as independent brewing firm BrewDog has said that it is in talks with the UK government about using its closed bars as temporary coronavirus vaccination centres.

The Scotland-based craft brewer also said it would give anyone vaccinated at one of its bars a commemorative can of beer.

Tougher COVID-19 restrictions and Tier 4 lockdowns across the UK forced the company, which was founded in 2007 and is valued at almost £1.5bn ($2bn), to shut its bars.

A government spokesperson told Yahoo finance: “We are very grateful for all offers of support as we continue to expand our vaccination programme.

“The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of patients with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It will now begin putting it’s extensive preparations into action to roll out the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in the weeks and months ahead.”

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