EU Countries Ban UK Travel and Halt Channel Freight over Covid Variant

More countries banned travel from the UK on Monday amid growing concern over a more infectious strain of Covid-19 in Britain as French restrictions curtailed freight transport across the English Channel, reported the Financial Times.
Poland and Turkey joined countries including Germany, France, Italy and Ireland that were among the first on Sunday to bar people coming from the UK after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Belgium, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands have also blocked UK arrivals.
A move by Paris to impose a 48-hour block on people and truck-borne freight coming into France from Britain from Monday prompted the closure of transport services across the English Channel, notably between Dover and Calais.
After an emergency inner cabinet meeting, the office of the French prime minister, Jean Castex, announced on Sunday: “It has been decided to suspend . . . all movements of people, including those related to freight transport, by road, air, sea or rail coming from the UK . . . The flow of people and transport into the UK is not affected.”
The order temporarily brings the English Channel freight route to a stop. Half of all goods traded between the UK and the EU, and about 90 per cent of truck traffic, crosses the channel at the Dover Strait.
French officials said the 48-hour suspension will allow time for the 27 EU member states to co-ordinate their response. They envisage a system allowing traffic from the UK, with pre-departure Covid-19 tests, from December 22.
The road approaches in England and France to the main freight routes across the English Channel had already been congested for two weeks, largely because of stockpiling by UK companies ahead of the imposition of customs controls between Britain and the EU on January 1.
The French move caused alarm in UK industry. Although freight was still allowed into England from France, hauliers were questioning whether to make the journey if lorries could not return.
“While goods can enter from France, few haulage firms will be willing to send trucks and drivers across to the UK without a guarantee they can return to the EU in a timely manner,” said the British Retail Consortium.