Britain and France have reached a deal to reopen their border to haulers and some passengers from Wednesday, the British Department for Transport announced Tuesday.
As part of the agreement, rapid turnaround lateral flow tests, which can return results in around 30 minutes, on lorry drivers with the help of the military will be deployed as part of the measures to unblock cross-channel trade. Britain’s NHS (National Health Service) Test and Trace teams will establish multiple testing sites in the southeastern region of Kent, where more than 2,800 lorries have been left trapped since the shutdown of the border.
The agreement with France will be reviewed on Dec. 31, but could run until Jan. 6, according to the British Department for Transport.
Under the deal, entry into France will only be granted to those traveling for urgent reasons, including haulers, French citizens, and British citizens with French residency.
The Department for Transport said the full details of the protocol, including what would happen to EU lorry drivers waiting in Kent who might test positive, would be published on Wednesday. Rail, air and sea services will resume on Wednesday morning, with all those traveling from Britain into France required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours.
France had closed its border with Britain amid fears of the spread of a new virus strain, with no lorries or ferry passengers able to sail from the port of Dover.
More than 50 countries have imposed restrictions on travelers from Britain. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced the new Tier Four restrictions for London and other parts of England to combat an alarming surge in infections linked to the new virus strain, which is said to be about 70 percent more transmissible.