December 23rd local time, Matt Hancock, the British Secretary of Health, announced that from the 26th, the level of COVID-19 prevention and control in many parts of the UK will be upgraded to the strictest level 4.
Previously, more than 40 countries and regions cut off flights to the United Kingdom because of the discovery of a mutant coronavirus, which made the country feel the taste of “hard Brexit” in advance…
France issued a ban on truck drivers trapped at the border
On the evening of the 20th local time, France announced that it would close the British-French border for 48 hours from 24:00 on the same day and prohibit all people from the United Kingdom, including cargo personnel, from entering the country. Traffic between Dover, England and Calais, France, is regulated, and trucks, cargo ships, etc. cannot be cleared.
As a result, a large number of truck drivers are unable to return to the European continent through France. In Dover, an important port city connecting Britain and France, thousands of freight trucks are lined up.
Robert Jenrick, the British Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said that it is estimated that at least 4,000 freight trucks are stranded in Kent in the southeast. The British Road Transport Association estimates that up to 10,000 trucks are stranded. Truck drivers wait to go from Dover, England to France. BBC aerial footage shows that trucks on the highway can’t be seen at a glance. An abandoned airport near Dover became a parking lot for 3,800 trucks, and another 1,200 trucks filled the road near Dover.
These truck drivers face survival difficulties on the highway. Some drivers said that there was neither food or sanitation nor any solution at the scene.
A truck driver named Christian Kosma described his trapped experience as follows: “It’s terrible. We waited over 50 hours and had no toilets and no food. I wanted to find a hotel locally but all the places were filled.”
On the 23rd, France lifted part of the ban and allowed transportation vehicles and some passengers to enter the country, giving drivers a glimmer of hope. France requires all people entering France from the UK to produce a negative test for COVID-19 within 72 hours.
In addition, truck drivers entering France must be tested for mutant COVID-19, and the results can be produced within half an hour.
Even so, truck drivers still face a difficult problem: they don’t know where to test. France requires all immigration personnel to provide testing certificates, but the United Kingdom did not provide enough testing facilities at the beginning.
A driver from Germany told Reuters: “We didn’t receive any news. Everyone became very anxious.” So the driver began to protest by sounding the horn and repeatedly switching the headlights to show dissatisfaction. Some emotional drivers also held protests at the scene and even clashed with the police. Police said that one driver was arrested for blocking the road.
According to a BBC report on the 23rd, Britain has organized soldiers to join the coronavirus testing work, but British Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on his personal social media, “This is a difficult task, but it will take time to clear the backlog. And patience”.
On the evening of the 23rd, a small number of truck drivers had been able to leave the country, but it would take several days for all the trucks trapped in Dover to leave.
Panic escalates, Britain is now buying a panic rush
Dover Port is the nearest British port to the European continent, and the Anglo-French Cross-Harbour Tunnel between Dover and the French Port of Calais carries 20% of the total British import and export cargo. Therefore, France’s closure of the border with Britain has also raised concerns about the supply of food and medicine in Britain.
The British people were in chaos for a while. After learning the news of the “lockdown”, many people began to hoard food and daily necessities.
Since the British government called for preparations for the upcoming no-deal Brexit in mid-December, the British people have begun to stock up on a large scale. Coupled with the spread of the mutant coronavirus, the panic of the British people has once again intensified. As a result, excessive worry has turned into a panic rush.
According to the British Mirror on the 22nd, despite Prime Minister Johnson’s urging of “normal shopping”, there has been a long line around the supermarket since 6 a.m. on the same day.
One customer told the media that when she was shopping in West Sussex, someone took the food directly from her shopping cart. Not only were customers robbed, but the security guard of a supermarket said that he was threatened by the customer with knives and syringes. Despite his security experience, he was not prepared for this eye-dropping behavior.
Britain tasted the taste of “hard Brexit” in advance.
Before an agreement was reached in the British-European trade negotiations, a variant coronavirus appeared, and the two sides of the attack made Britain taste a “hard Brexit” in advance.
Fearing the spread of the mutant novel coronavirus to the world, more than 40 countries and regions, including many European countries, Canada, Japan, etc., have announced a ban on British flights. In addition, France has suspended all buses and freight vehicles to and from the Channel Undersea Tunnel, making Britain a “island” for a while. .
Due to Britain’s special geographical location, many supplies rely on tunnels and air transportation. British Prime Minister Johnson fears that if the port is closed for more than two days, some food will run out in a few weeks.
In order to avoid chaos in Britain, Johnson held a press conference in Downing Street on the 21st local time, saying that Britain “immediately took action to curb the spread” after discovering the mutation of the virus, hoping that countries would “be merciless”.
At the same time, Boris has not forgotten to appease the British people. He said that the cut-off of the supply chain in Europe will only have a small impact on the British food supply.
But the heads of Tesco and Sainsbury, the two largest supermarket chains in the UK, said that if the restrictions were not lifted, Britain’s food supply would be seriously affected. A spokesman for the Sainsbury supermarket chain said frankly that if the current “quarantine” state continues for a few days, “very soon, there will be a shortage of broccoli, broccoli, citrus fruits and other ingredients in the salad.”