More than 4,500 trucks, among a huge backlog of vehicles stranded for days in the port of Dover, have crossed the English Channel after extra troops were deployed to step up coronavirus testing

Davies

a truck is seen at the entry of the port of dover with other trucks ahead on a bridge

More than 4,500 trucks, among a huge backlog of vehicles stranded for days in the port of Dover, have crossed the English Channel after extra troops were deployed to step up coronavirus testing.

Key points:

  • French and UK governments agreed to end the blockade on Tuesday
  • But UK authorities said it would take days to clear the long lines of trucks
  • Only 24 drivers have tested positive following more than 10,000 tests

Ferry services between Dover and the French port of Calais resumed on Thursday, ending a blockade France had imposed for several days following the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in England.

The United Kingdom’s Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Twitter that more than 10,000 coronavirus tests had been carried out on truck drivers and only 24 of them had tested positive.

“Over 4,500 HGVs [heavy goods vehicles] are back over the Channel,” Mr Shapps said.

The UK deployed additional troops to help clear the queues of trucks waiting for COVID-19 tests before being allowed to board cross-channel ferries.

UK media said 800 extra soldiers were sent to support 300 initially deployed.

A person argues with a police officer while waiting to get on a ferry in Dover, Britain.

The dispute had produced angry scenes as drivers were stuck for days in southern England.(Reuters: Simon Dawson)

Soldiers checked vehicles and drivers’ documents at the entrance to the port.

In one case, French officials, who were in Dover to help clear the backlog, were seen administering a nasal swab to a driver.

The French and UK governments agreed to end the blockade on Tuesday but UK authorities had said it would take days to clear the long lines of trucks.

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