France has sealed its border to trucks from the U.K. after the detection of a more infectious coronavirus strain in England.
French officials have barred truck traffic from the nation for the next 48 hours while the new strain is assessed, according to The Associated Press.
The AP noted that trucks are used to transport the most-perishable British goods to France, adding that the transportation of goods via the English Channel is unaffected by the ban. Trucking comprises for about one-fifth of U.K. trade, with some 10,000 trucks passing through the Port of Dover daily.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the halt will not affect U.K. residents’ daily lives “for the most part.”
His French counterpart, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, said the measure was temporary and tweeted that “in the coming hours, at a European level, we will put a solid health protocol in place so that the flow from the United Kingdom can resume.”
Dans les prochaines heures, au niveau européen, nous allons mettre en place un protocole sanitaire solide pour que les flux depuis le Royaume-Uni puissent reprendre. Notre priorité : protéger nos ressortissants et nos concitoyens.— Jean-Baptiste Djebbari (@Djebbari_JB) December 21, 2020
French President Emanuel Macron, who is recovering from the virus, said Monday that officials in his nation are weighing whether to test everyone arriving from the U.K.
Several other nations, including Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, India and Canada, have halted all flights from the U.K., while New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoEMILY's List announces early endorsement of Hochul Hochul jumps out to early lead in NY governor's primary: poll De Blasio privately says he plans to run for New York governor: report MORE (D) blasted the Trump administration for not taking a similar step in the U.S.
“It's high time the federal government takes swift action, because today that variant is getting on a plane and landing in JFK, and all it takes is one person,” Cuomo said.
Public health officials have said that while the strain is more infectious, it does not appear to be deadlier than the previously identified strain and that Moderna’s and Pfizer’s newly approved vaccines will likely prevent it.