Coronavirus news: Stranded lorry drivers await mass testing as France reopens border | UK | News (Reports)

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The Port of Dover has reopened for truckers who undergo the test and show a negative result. Some 6,000 tests could be taken each day by NHS staff who travelled to Dover for the mass testing spell.

According to reports, 150 soldiers could be drafted in to conduct tests on drivers who found themselves stranded after France imposed a ban on travel from the UK on Sunday.

The outcome of the lateral flows will be communicated by text message in as little as 20 minutes, allowing drivers to know whether they are infected or not in a timely manner.

But the prospect of the regime has encountered some criticism as Downing Street sources told the Daily Mail it “won’t be perfect”.

Trade association the Road Haulage Association (RHA) echoed similar concerns.

It warned the testing programme “still means we will have delays at the border”.

The body estimate between 8,000 and 10,000 delayed lorries are now in the Kent region.

RHA Chief executive Richard Burnett said: “There are many serious implications to this latest situation, even lateral flow Covid testing will have a massive impact on the supply chain.”

He added: “What happens to them? How is it all going to play out? Are they going to be tested on site or are they going to have to go somewhere else to do it?”

“And for those carrying return loads, what will happen to their cargo? This is going to be an extremely expensive exercise.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to confirm further details about the testing regime today.

Mr Shapps said: “We have managed to get all those tests to Kent, enough for all the vehicles which will want to return before Christmas, so that won’t be an issue.

“Obviously there’s a physical issue of providing the test, getting the results. A negative test allows you to leave.

“But all of that requires operationalising and that can’t happen in an instant, so this will take two or three days for things to be cleared.”

The news comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a meeting with ministers and leading medics after the new strain of Covid-19 was detected in parts of the South West, Midlands and the North.

Mr Johnson and the ministers debated moving other areas in the country into Tier 4 in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

He is set to outline the potential new restrictions as soon as tomorrow, with the measures due to come into force immediately after Christmas.

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