From the 20th, the British government raised the prevention and control level in London and other parts to the newly added level of Tier 4, when all non-essential stores will be closed and millions of people will be required to stay at home. British Prime Minister Johnson said: “When the virus changes the way we attack, we must change the way we defend.”
The current epidemic situation in Britain worries the continent. Since the 20th, many European countries have imposed travel restrictions on the United Kingdom. At the time of press release, at least 11 countries around the world have announced a traffic ban on the United Kingdom.
Germany, the Presidency of the European Union, will convene an emergency meeting of EU officials on the 21st to discuss a coordinated response. Johnson will also chair the emergency officials meeting on the same day to discuss ways to ensure that goods are transported to the UK.
The European Union cut off transportation in the Dover Strait
Under the new epidemic prevention policy of the British government, the United Kingdom will cancel the five-day plan to relax epidemic prevention restrictions on holidays, London and southeastern England will ban multi-family gatherings, and other parts of England will only allow social activities on Christmas Day.
The British government has significantly upgraded its prevention and control measures because of the discovery of a new strain of COVID-19. The British Ministry of Health said on the 19th that a mutant novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly in London and southeastern England, “it spreads 70% faster than the originally discovered novel coronavirus”.
The Associated Press quoted several British officials as saying that 60% of the newly increased confirmed cases in London were caused by infection with the mutant coronavirus.
England’s chief medical officer Whitty said in a statement on the 19th that experts are currently continuously analyzing the data obtained to deepen their understanding of the mutant virus.
However, so far, there is no evidence that the mutant virus may bring higher mortality or affect the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutic drugs.
Given the mutant novel coronavirus in the UK, and the epidemic in Europe is not optimistic. After the announcement of new epidemic prevention measures in Britain, many European countries launched traffic control with the United Kingdom.
Ireland and the Netherlands were the first countries to take control measures. Ireland began to ban passenger flights with the United Kingdom on the 20th. The Dutch government issued a statement on the 20th, saying that it announced that the entry of British flights will be banned from that day and that the ban will last until January 1 next year.
In addition, additional measures for other means of transport will be considered. Earlier this month, the Netherlands found the same new strain as the United Kingdom in a sample of the novel coronavirus case.
The French government also announced on the same day that France would suspend all people’s travel from the United Kingdom for 48 hours from midnight in the 20th, including freight travel related to roads, railways, aviation and waterways. Unstaffed freight from the UK and French people travelling to the UK remained normal.
On the afternoon of the 20th, the German government will impose a ban on British flights. German Health Minister Spahn said that it is necessary to prevent mutant strains from entering Germany and continental Europe.
Outside continental Europe, the U.S. Department of State currently advises tourists to reconsider visiting the United Kingdom, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people not to travel to the United Kingdom.
Hit the British and European goods trade hard
The above-mentioned multi-national ban in Europe may seriously undermine the trade of goods between Britain and Europe. The French ban will close most of the Anglo-European freight trade corridors, especially the important route of the Strait of Dover. Half of all freight trade between Britain and Europe is transported by truck through the Dover Channel. In the foreign trade of the United States, 20% of imports and 27% of exports also take advantage of it.
In the Dover Channel, there are three ferry companies, which have a ferry every 30 minutes or so every day, and the whole voyage time is only 90 minutes. It is one of the most convenient routes for the UK to reach the European continent and the most popular route from the UK to France.
The Strait of Dover is the busiest strait in the world by sea, with more than 120,000 ships passing through every year. At any time, there are always about 40 ships in the Strait, and the number of transporting vessels far exceeds that of Malacca and the Strait of Gibraltar.
The closure of the Dover Channel ferry route directly increases the possibility of freight delays between Britain and Europe. According to French media reports, the road to France’s main freight route from England to France has been congested for two weeks, mainly because British companies want to store “sufficient goods” before British and Europe implement customs control before January 1 next year. The closure of the Strait will make the British and European trade and transport worse.
The regulatory measures in France and other countries have made British industry quite dissatisfied. They said that although the French government still allowed the shipment from France to England, the truck could not return. “While goods can be entered from France, few transport companies are willing to ship trucks and drivers to the UK without guaranteeing timely return to the EU,” the British Retail Federation said.
In response, the French government said that the current French regulatory ban on the United Kingdom is only 48 hours, and the 27 member states of the European Union still have time to coordinate measures. They are considering a measure to allow British goods traders to enter the continent, such as allowing transporters to test for the novel coronavirus before departure from December 22.