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Protocol agreed to reopen French border to UK arrivals, EU starts to ease bans

Christian Fernsby |
An agreement to reopen the UK-French border to allow accompanied freight services and some passenger services to resume between the two countries has been reached by the UK and French governments evening 22 December 2020.

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Topics: FRENCH    UK   

Rail, air and sea services will resume today morning, with all people travelling from the UK into France required to show proof of a negative Coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours.

The protocol agreed with the French Government will be reviewed on 31 December, but could run until 6 January. All lorry drivers, irrespective of nationality, will require a lateral flow test.

This can detect the new strain of coronavirus and provide results in around 30 minutes, rather than the 24 hours required after a PCR test.

The French government will also carry out sample testing on incoming freight to the UK.

The UK government continues to strongly urge hauliers not to travel to Kent until further notice, while a mass testing programme for HGV drivers gets underway to alleviate congestion at ports.

Operation Stack remains in force along the M20 while lorry drivers in Kent are continuing to be directed to the Manston holding facility, where they have access to food and welfare facilities.

Under the agreement announced yesterday evening, admittance into France will only be granted to those travelling for urgent reasons including hauliers French citizens, and British citizens with French residency. 

Europe began lifting travel bans on Britain put in place  to contain a new fast spreading Covid strain while WHO experts were set to meet on a response to it.

The new strain of the virus, which has also been detected in small numbers elsewhere, appears to spread more easily than other types but experts say there is no evidence it is more lethal or resistant to vaccines.

The EU instead urged virus tests be carried out on passengers within 72 hours before travel.

"Flight and train bans should be discontinued given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions," the EU said.

The Netherlands also said it was lifting its ban but noted that all passengers, including EU citizens, must have a recent negative test to enter.

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