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Coronavirus: UK sets up more than 20 Covid test sites for France-bound hauliers

Coronavirus: UK sets up more than 20 Covid test sites for France-bound hauliers thumbnail

Publishedduration5 hours agoimage copyrightMinistry of Defence/Crown CopyrightMore than 20 new coronavirus testing centres for hauliers driving to France are being set up in the next few days, the transport secretary has announced.Grant Shapps said that 10 sites opened on Saturday, with a further 10 to come on Sunday, and more to be added in the…

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image copyrightMinistry of Defence/Crown Copyright

More than 20 new coronavirus testing centres for hauliers driving to France are being set up in the next few days, the transport secretary has announced.

Grant Shapps said that 10 sites opened on Saturday, with a further 10 to come on Sunday, and more to be added in the week.

The government is also offering help to firms that wish to set up testing centres on their own premises.

Free testing kits will be available to companies as part of the scheme.

The move comes after France shut its border to UK arrivals – including freight drivers – last month, amid concern over a new fast-spreading variant of coronavirus identified in the UK.

It led to thousands of lorry drivers being stuck in Kent as they waited to cross the English Channel, with some clashing with police after spending days in their cabs.

The French government later ended its ban, with drivers who wish to enter France from UK now required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in the previous 72 hours.

Hauliers travelling via the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel will get fast-tracked past queues if they take a Covid test before arriving in Kent, the government said, in a bid to reduce delays.

Members of the Armed Forces will be at some of the sites to support the testing operation.

Where are the haulier testing sites?

Free coronavirus tests will be available at some of the government’s haulier information sites located at motorway service stations and truck stops.

The current advice sites offering tests are:

  • Carlisle Stobart truck stop
  • Doncaster North services
  • Donington Park services
  • Peterborough services
  • Reading Eastbound services
  • Rugby Stobart truck stop
  • Sutton Scotney southbound services
  • Tamworth services
  • Watford Gap southbound services
  • Wetherby services

You can also view the list here.

Staff at the testing centres will also be able to provide hauliers with guidance on new border procedures in place since Britain exited the Brexit transition period on New Year’s Eve, the government said.

The transport secretary 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.”

He said in order to keep traffic flowing in Kent, it is “essential” for drivers to be tested before they travel, and have a Kent Access Permit before heading to the border.

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