France slowly allowing passengers, freight from UK to enter

France slowly allowing passengers, freight from UK to enter
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A ban on crossings at the border between France and the United Kingdom as a result of a new strain of COVID-19 spreading in the southern U.K. was relaxed on Wednesday but still threatens to limit access to fresh food across Britain.

Reuters and The Associated Press reported that French authorities agreed to allow British drivers who test negative for COVID-19 into the country, but noted that the two-day freeze of crossings from Britain to France had resulted in a massive backlog near the town of Dover, the prime crossing point, which was causing massive delays on both sides of the border.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had spoken to French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrench parliament approves COVID-19 passes for restaurants, domestic travel WhatsApp chief: US allies' national security officials targeted with NSO malware US athletes chant 'Dr. Biden' as first lady cheers swimmers MORE seeking to resolve the issue. 

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Major grocery store chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury's were warning customers of the potential for fresh food shortages as a result of the backlog, the news services reported, while thousands of trucks remained in line to be processed at the Dover crossing.

“It is good news for consumers as the French borders have now reopened, however it is essential that lorries get moving across the border as quickly as possible," said Andrew Opie, head of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), in a statement to Reuters about the backlog.

“Until the backlog is cleared and supply chains return to normal, we anticipate issues with the availability of some fresh goods,” Opie continued.

British authorities moved to shutter shops and businesses across the country and implement other new COVID-19 restrictions in the face of a new strain of the virus which experts believe can spread more easily due to its higher viral load.

A number of countries including the member-states of the European Union moved to suspend incoming travel from the U.K. in response.