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French firefighters fight to clear the backlog of 6,000 trucks in Dover today


French firefighters armed with 10,000 Covid test kits joined an attempt today to wipe down thousands of stranded truckers before being allowed to cross the canal – but British officials say they don't have to find a single positive result among 2,000 tests.

A group of 26 firefighters from across the continent have joined UK testing efforts and personally administered the swabs to truck drivers as a backlog of 6,000 trucks continues to clog an airfield in Kent and the M20 motorway.

It comes after President Emmanuel Macron closed the border and required truckers to be tested before entering France after a new mutant strain of Covid was identified in the south east of England.

Around 100 NHS employees and 170 armed forces personnel are leading the test drive in the UK today. The goal is to wipe up to 600 truckers per hour to clear the residue.

Unlike the French firefighters, the British test teams pass the swabs on to the truck drivers to manage them themselves. Method is considered less effective by experts. A recent study from Oxford University found that the accuracy of rapid Covid test kits fell from 79 percent when used by experts to 58 percent when performed without human training.

But British officials say they don't have to find a single positive case among the 2,000 tests supposedly taken so far. According to the Evening Standard, a source in Whitehall said, "All of these problems – there were 2,000 tests – no positives." The source described France's reaction as "premature".

It comes as Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that ferries and Eurostar services will run between Dover and Calais over Christmas to end the backlog. He said last night he hoped it could be cleared up "by New Years". Others have also warned it could take days for the backlog to be resolved.

Today the head of the Road Haulage Association – who claims there could be up to 10,000 trucks at the border – accused France of treating drivers like "farmers in a bigger game" as Britain is close to reaching a deal with the EU convey . It's a claim that the French have repeatedly denied.

Trucks have been piling up on the M20 and at Marston Airfield in Kent since the French border closed on Sunday.

Any driver who wants to cross the canal must now perform a negative cross-flow test within 72 hours of departure. The truck drivers who tested positive are brought to quarantine in a safe hotel in Covid.

Meanwhile, a group of Sikh volunteers have attempted to improve the spirits of the thousands of truck drivers stranded in Kent, with 1,000 domino pizzas being delivered amid the ongoing border chaos.

French firefighters armed with 10,000 test kits have joined the fight to bring thousands of stranded truck drivers across the canal today. Up to 6,000 trucks are now stacked in Kent

A group of 26 firefighters from across the continent joined the testing effort and personally administered the swabs to truck drivers after President Emmanuel Macron demanded that truckers be wiped down before they were allowed to cross the canal

A group of 26 firefighters from across the continent joined the testing effort and personally administered the swabs to truck drivers after President Emmanuel Macron demanded that truckers be wiped down before they were allowed to cross the canal

Unlike the French firefighters, the British test teams hand over the swabs for the truck drivers to self-administer - a method that is considered less effective

Unlike the French firefighters, the British test teams hand over the swabs for the truck drivers to self-administer – a method that is considered less effective

It comes as Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that ferries and Eurostar services will run between Dover and Calais over Christmas to end the backlog. He said last night that he hoped the backlog could be fixed "by New Year's".

It comes as Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that ferries and Eurostar services will run between Dover and Calais over Christmas to end the backlog. He said last night that he hoped the backlog could be fixed "by New Year's".

A driver checks his COVID-19 cross-flow test in the port of Dover, Kent, where thousands are waiting to continue their journey across the canal after the borders with France reopen

A driver checks his COVID-19 cross-flow test in the port of Dover, Kent, where thousands are waiting to continue their journey across the canal after the borders with France reopen

Members of the British Army assist travelers with using Covid-19 self-test kits near the entrance to the port of Dover

Members of the British Army assist travelers with using Covid-19 self-test kits near the entrance to the port of Dover

The difference in testing efforts: Great Britain (right) is asking truck drivers to run the Covid tests themselves. But French firefighters dab drivers themselves

The swab tests must be done by inserting a swab into the person's nose. French officials run the tests themselves, but British workers give the tests to drivers for self-administration

The swab tests must be done by inserting a swab into the person's nose. French officials run the tests themselves, but British workers give the tests to drivers for self-administration

After the French border closes on Sunday, trucks are lining up on the M20 motorway to enter the port of Dover. Around 2,000 are said to be on the motorway

After the French border closes on Sunday, trucks are lining up on the M20 motorway to enter the port of Dover. Around 2,000 are said to be on the motorway

Experts warn against self-administered Covid rapid tests that increase the unreliability or the results

Lateral flow devices (LFDs) have been touted as a way to get the UK back to normal faster because they are cheap and give results in 30 minutes.

These are the tests the UK has chosen to wipe down truck drivers trying to cross the canal into France.

French officials wanted truck drivers to be wiped off with PCR testing.

In comparison, the gold standard PCR tests take two to three days to identify positive cases, giving someone who is infected more time to return to the community and potentially spread the virus.

However, concerns have been raised about the accuracy of lateral flow tests, amid concerns that only those ingested infectiously while giving others a false sense of security – increasing the risk of accidentally passing the virus to others.

Liverpool launched a mass test pilot on November 6 to detect asymptomatic infections, believed to account for a third of all cases, using LFDs.

To evaluate the effectiveness of LFDs compared to PCRs, the scientists examined the results of 6,000 residents who performed both tests.

Interim results of the study published yesterday showed that compared to PCRs, LFDs only detect two fifths of positive tests.

And found only two-thirds of those who had high viral loads – meaning many who spread the virus were still able to roam freely around their community.

"The sensitivity of the LFD was 40 percent less than expected," admitted Professor Buchan.

There are other problems with accuracy when running a test yourself.

An Oxford University study initially found that tests picked up 79 percent of cases and rose to over 90 percent of the most contagious cases.

However, the accuracy decreased from 79 percent when used by experts to 58 percent when used by ordinary people without training.

It comes after tension boiled over in Kent yesterday as frustrated truck drivers stuck at the border for days awaited a positive test.

A Polish truck driver recounted how he had to call his pregnant wife and daughters heartbreakingly to tell them he was unlikely to be home for Christmas and that he would instead be in his taxi on the A20 Dover would spend.

Wojtek Golawski is one of the thousands of truckers stranded in Kent and disappointed during the Christmas season. Only 200 tests per hour are performed on Wednesday.

There was more confusion then when it was found that testing on the Jubilee Way, the main route into Dover Port, was halted before 10pm last night.

The Department of Transportation insists that the immediate priority was clearing the major congestion of vehicles along this road, that testing resume there today, and that 24-hour operations are in place at Manston Airport, where thousands are parked was on the M20 motorway.

A spokesman added that Dover's lack of testers overnight won't prevent access to the port, while the number of drivers tested per hour on Thursday is expected to grow to 500 or 600, with officials looking to set up ten mobile test units truckers stuck in Queues.

Police have finally started letting drivers into Dover port to test for coronavirus. If this is negative, they can start their journey home.

Around 6,000 trucks, 4,000 on Manston Airfield and 2,000 on the M20, are said to be waiting to cross the canal. Trucks are also parked in and around Dover, in streets and lay people. Highways England has warned all drivers – including hauliers – not to travel to Kent until further notice as the channel crossing continues to be suspended.

Grant Shapps said last night he wasn't sure how long it would take to clear the backlog but hoped it would be sorted after New Years. Today he tweeted that the ferry and Eurostar connections between Dover and Calais will continue over Christmas to help reduce the backlog.

He said: “While the tests in Kent continue (latest figures and results coming soon), I spoke to my French counterpart and agreed that the border between Great Britain and France at Eurotunnel, Dover and Calais would remain open during Christmas around the Helping Shippers & Citizens Return Home ASAP.

“ Not only are we making sure the ferries are now running on Christmas and Boxing Day, we're also doing a great job with French firefighters who are working with NHS Test & Trace and our brilliant military to help the closure of the to remove the residue left over from the French border. & # 39;

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke also said the tests were "in full swing" but warned that it could take "days" to clear the backlog.

In a tweet, the Conservative MP said: "Trucks are now leaving Dover. Will continue sailing on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to fix the backlog.

“Thank you to all the ferry, military and emergency teams who made this possible. The tests are going well, but will take days to complete. & # 39;

French Ambassador to the UK, Catherine Colonna, tweeted about today's support effort, saying: “A team of 26 firefighters arrived in Dover this morning with 10,000 COVID-19 tests, helping teams in port accelerate the passage of truckers to the Mainland. Well done! Good cooperation. & # 39;

Huge shopping queues form when supermarkets carry out air transports in European fruit and vegetables in the chaos of the ports

Huge queues formed this morning as supermarkets stocked with fruit and vegetables flew to avoid the shortage of fresh produce caused by the chaos in Dover.

The UK retail consortium has warned that there could be a shortage of fresh goods until the backlog of trucks is cleared, while the Food and Drink Federation warns of “major disruptions”.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps suggested that the chaos at the border could continue until the New Year as the Army and NHS rush to test every driver in a queue of up to 6,000 trucks.

The requirement to test all drivers heading to Europe – a key condition for France to agree to resume trading – is delaying the speed at which trucks on the continent can be replenished before returning to the UK.

German airline Lufthansa yesterday flew 80 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables for Tesco, Sainsbury & # 39; s, the Co-op and Aldi to the UK as thousands of freight forwarders were stranded on the Kent border.

The airlift, which included lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, citrus fruits and strawberries, came when Tesco started rationing several items, and experts warned that the border reopening would not be early enough to prevent bottlenecks.

The Lufthansa airlift was commissioned by Venus, an Egyptian fruit supplier used in British supermarkets. It landed at Doncaster Sheffield Airport just before 2 p.m. yesterday, Lufthansa told MailOnline.

Ian Wright, CEO of the Food and Drink Federation, told The Grocer: "The news of an agreement to allow freight forwarders to enter France with a negative Covid test last night is a very welcome step forward."

But he added: “Even if Calais works extremely quickly and may be closed on Christmas Day, it is clear that it may be until the New Year before normal operations resume. Trucks take time to return to their normal pickup and delivery pattern.

“That means that we will probably notice a lower availability of fresh vegetables and fruit on the shelf from next week. We will also see a potentially significant disruption to the flow of ingredients into the UK. & # 39;

MailOnline has contacted all of the major supermarkets to ask if they have also introduced new restrictions.

Sainsbury & # 39; s, M & S, Morrisons and Aldi all said no, while Waitrose said customers had limited themselves to two packs of toilet paper and three bags of flour for "a considerable period". Lidl still has to answer.

All the supermarkets said they had plenty of supplies.

Meanwhile, truck driver Wojtek from Lukow, Poland, said he traveled to the UK on Sunday with pallets full of clothes that he had delivered to a depot in Nottingham. Like thousands of other delivery drivers, the 34-year-old has been stuck in Kent since the weekend.

Wojtek is parked a mile and a half to the line and almost certainly won't make it home in time to see his two girls, ages three and five, open their presents.

He said: & # 39; It's a terrible situation and it shouldn't have come to that. I think it's France trying to flex its muscles before Brexit.

“But it does mean I won't make it to my daughters and my wife, who is seven months pregnant.

“I had to call her very hard tonight to say that the problems in England meant I had to miss Christmas this year.

“You and the girls were very upset, and so was I. It will be depressing to celebrate it alone in the same truck cab I slept in for the last two nights.

“But that's exactly what happens and I have to accept it. Even if I take the ferry to France tomorrow, it will still be a long journey.

"Miracles happen, especially this time of year, but I think I'll be in England for at least a few more days."

A driver at the head of the queue, Catana Florian, who had transported 20 dogs and six cats rescued from the streets of Bucharest to new homes in Britain, was hoping to return to Romania to care for his wife and seven-year-old daughter see.

He had made levies in Kent, Peterborough, Norwich and Colchester but got stuck in Dover when the French closed the border.

The 45-year-old hoped to take a ferry to Calais to take the 28-hour journey home to Craiova.

He said, “I made people's Christmas by giving them a new pet – now I hope the UK and French authorities can do mine.

“Myself and a colleague have slept in the back of our van since Sunday and I'm wearing old clothes again because I don't have any new ones.

“We have waited so long to go home and now it finally looks like we will finally build the ferry as long as we test negative for Covid.

“It's cold and wet and I just want to see my wife and little girl again and spend the big day with them.

"As long as there are no more raids, we should make it, that would be the best gift of all."

Filipe Mayo, a truck driver from Portugal who was waiting to go to Calais four days, said BBC Radio Fours Today Program: & # 39;Right now I'm stuck in my truck.

There are two lanes, one left and one right to the tunnel and the shuttle.

“The right side I'm on right now goes straight to Dover.

“You're stopping us right now, nothing happens. We're just waiting for instructions from the police, who sometimes knock on the door of the truck and say, look ahead and wait.

Wojtek Golawski pictured said he had to spend the height of the festive season in his truck taxi stuck on the A20 in Dover and not with his family in Lukow, Poland

Wojtek Golawski pictured said he had to spend the height of the festive season in his truck taxi stuck on the A20 in Dover and not with his family in Lukow, Poland

Police officers and truck drivers gather at the entrance to the port of Dover last night as testing began

Police officers and truck drivers gather at the entrance to the port of Dover last night as testing began

Military personnel help take samples from drivers parked in Dover Harbor in Kent to get them moving again

Military personnel help take samples from drivers parked in Dover Harbor in Kent to get them moving again

The army was drafted to help tonight after only doing 200 tests an hour in Kent yesterday

The army was drafted to help tonight after only doing 200 tests an hour in Kent yesterday

It is unknown how many tests the Army is planning to run per hour, but sources say it will be a "relentless operation".

It is unknown how many tests the Army is planning to run per hour, but sources say it will be a "relentless operation".

The trucker named John Christmas admits that he'll likely be spending the festive season at a truck stop

The unfortunate trucker John Christmas has admitted that he will likely spend the festive season in his truck parked at a rest stop.

The aptly named Romanian driver won't make it home on Christmas Day as he can't make it to Dover due to traffic problems.

It currently stands at the Manston roundabout, 18 miles from the harbor.

The unfortunate trucker John Christmas has admitted that he will likely spend the festive season in his truck parked at a rest stop

The unfortunate trucker John Christmas has admitted that he will likely spend the festive season in his truck parked at a rest stop

Mr Christmas is transporting water from Dover to Birmingham but was unable to get near the port due to traffic congestion as thousands of other drivers are trying to reach France for home.

He told Kent Live, “I'm going to be spending Christmas in my trailer, whether it's on the side of the road or in a parking lot in Birmingham, it's inevitable now.

“I don't need a COVID test. I've waited for hours but they won't let me go

“I just have to go to Dover to drop my truck and pick up another one, but I can't go there.

"After that I have to go back to Birmingham and then back to Romania."

“And that's basically it for the last five hours. We are waiting for the coronavirus tests so nobody really knows how long it will take for the test to be done. So we're just waiting on the street. & # 39;

Today Richard Burnett, head of the Road Haulage Association, said he sympathizes with the hauliers, a small number of whom clashed with police this week after being stopped on the way to the continent specifically dragging the Brexit negotiations. & # 39;

He told the BBC: "We understand that we don't want the virus to spread, but I think we need to practically think about some of the reasons why this happened."

Mr Burnett added he was "relieved" that freight forwarders could move after French authorities requested a negative test following the emergence of a new more communicable strain of coronavirus in the UK, but added that it would "take some time" to clear the residue.

He added that truck drivers' coronavirus infection rates are 3% to 6%, much lower than those of workers in other sectors.

Yesterday, NHS staff arrived in Dover and started rolling out lateral flow tests that detect the new, particularly contagious strain of Covid-19 and provide results in around 30 minutes instead of the 24 hours that follow a PCR Test are required.

In order for someone to travel through France, they must first submit a negative test.

A test site had been set up at Manston Airfield, 18 miles from Dover, but could not reach the thousands of drivers parked in town after causing two miles of traffic jam last night.

NHS staff were instead taken to Dover, where the original plan was to have drivers tested on their way from truck to truck. However, after the police officers were attacked by frustrated drivers who were desperate to go home, 30 vehicles at a time were checked instead.

The truckers' fights come when it is discovered that Kent officials are only performing 200 tests an hour. This sparked fears that the stalemate that had ruled the county all week and left 10,000 truckers stranded could last for days.

Fighting erupted between truck drivers and police in Dover and Manston Airport as tension escalated as test workers set up swab centers to take them across the canal for Christmas.

Contractors, however, struggled to achieve the massive level of testing ministers had hoped for yesterday and the military was now on the scene to accelerate what sources have referred to as a "relentless operation".

At the head of the queue, the pictured Catana Florian, who had brought 20 dogs and six cats rescued from the streets of Bucharest to new homes in Britain, was hoping to return to Romania to see his wife and seven-year-old daughter

At the head of the queue, the pictured Catana Florian, who had brought 20 dogs and six cats rescued from the streets of Bucharest to new homes in Britain, was hoping to return to Romania to see his wife and seven-year-old daughter

A man is arrested by police after an argument in the port of Dover as tensions continue to rise over the French travel ban

A man is arrested by police after an argument in the port of Dover as tensions continue to rise over the French travel ban

Police arrest at the entrance to Dover port, which is blocked by police as a queue for vehicles to leave

Police arrest at the entrance to Dover port, which is blocked by police as a queue for vehicles to leave

Several police officers surround a man who is being handcuffed in Dover harbor, where tension rose yesterday

Several police officers surround a man who is being handcuffed in Dover harbor, where tension rose yesterday

The police spoke to frustrated truck drivers in a major test program last night to get them back on the road

The police spoke to frustrated truck drivers in a major test program last night to get them back on the road

Autos fahren in Richtung Check-in im Hafen von Dover in Kent, nachdem die französischen Behörden angekündigt haben, dass Reisen aus Großbritannien nach Aufhebung des Coronavirus-Verbots wieder aufgenommen werden dürfen, aber diejenigen, die reisen möchten, müssen ein negatives Testergebnis haben

Autos fahren in Richtung Check-in im Hafen von Dover in Kent, nachdem die französischen Behörden angekündigt haben, dass Reisen aus Großbritannien nach Aufhebung des Coronavirus-Verbots wieder aufgenommen werden dürfen, aber diejenigen, die reisen möchten, müssen ein negatives Testergebnis haben

Premierminister Boris Johnson und Emmanuel Macron hatten zuvor vereinbart, LKW-Fahrer nach zwei Tagen chaotischen Stillstands nach den Befürchtungen des französischen Präsidenten über den neuen superinfektiösen Stamm Covid mit einem negativen 30-minütigen Lateral-Flow-Coronavirus-Test nach Frankreich zuzulassen. 19 in ganz Großbritannien und anderen Ländern.

TAUSEND Dominos-Pizzen werden an gestrandete Trucker geliefert, die allein in Kent vor Weihnachten stehen

Eine Gruppe von Sikh-Freiwilligen hat versucht, die Stimmung der in Kent gestrandeten LKW-Fahrer mit einer Lieferung von 1.000 Domino-Pizzen im anhaltenden Grenzchaos zu verbessern.

Tausende ausländische Fahrer werden wahrscheinlich Weihnachten in Großbritannien verbringen, da die Regierung angegeben hat, dass sich die Warteschlangen mindestens weitere 24 Stunden nicht bewegen werden.

Freiwillige von Khalsa Aid haben gestern die Lieferungen koordiniert, nachdem sie den gestrandeten Autofahrern bereits einen Tag zuvor Hunderte von Kichererbsencurrys geliefert hatten.

Sikh-Freiwillige von Khalsa Aid und Domino's Pizza-Mitarbeitern stehen vor der Niederlassung in Sittingbourne, Kent, um die Lieferung der frischen Pizza an gestrandete LKW-Fahrer vorzubereiten

Sikh-Freiwillige von Khalsa Aid und Domino's Pizza-Mitarbeitern stehen vor der Niederlassung in Sittingbourne, Kent, um die Lieferung der frischen Pizza an gestrandete LKW-Fahrer vorzubereiten

Die Freiwilligen aus Maidenhead reisten über 80 Meilen, um zu helfen, während einige der Langar Aid-Mitglieder der Gruppe mehr als 150 Meilen von Coventry entfernt reisten.

Freiwillige aus dem Guru Nanak Darbar Tempel in Gravesend kochten die Mahlzeiten, während Mitarbeiter der Südostabteilung der Heilsarmee ebenfalls bei der Lieferung von Lebensmitteln halfen. Der Ramsgate Football Club war ebenfalls beteiligt und lieferte 200 Pizzen an die Fahrer.

Ravinder Singh, Gründer von Khalsa Aid mit Sitz in Maidenhead, sagte: „Wir im Sikhismus haben das Konzept von Langar, was Gemeinschaftsküche bedeutet.

"Wir sind britische Sikhs und das Mindeste, was wir tun können, ist, unseren saisonalen guten Willen zu üben: Zwei Tage nach Weihnachten haben wir Menschen auf unserem Boden, die auf dem Heimweg sind und nicht wissen, was passiert."

Die Road Haulage Association sagte, dass das Chaos wahrscheinlich bis zum Boxing Day andauern wird. In Manston werden zwischen 100 und 300 Tests pro Stunde durchgeführt und insgesamt mehr als 6.000 Lastwagen müssen durchkommen. Neben Manston fanden Tests im Hafen von Dover statt.

Andrew Opie, Direktor für Lebensmittel und Nachhaltigkeit beim British Retail Consortium, warnte heute davor, dass der Rückstand Probleme bei der Lieferung von Frischwaren nach Großbritannien verursachen könnte. Er sagte dem Telegraphen: "Bis der Rückstand beseitigt ist und sich die Lieferketten wieder normalisieren, erwarten wir Probleme mit der Verfügbarkeit einiger frischer Waren."

Ein wichtiger Brennpunkt in Kent war die Einfahrt zum Hafen, wo die Fahrer die Einfahrt blockierten, weil sie den Kanal ohne einen negativen Coronavirus-Test der britischen Regierung nicht überqueren durften.

Um diesen Test zu erhalten – der selbst verwaltet wird – mussten sie 18 Meilen nach Manston fahren, das bereits voll mit 3.800 LKW-Fahrern ist, die heute ebenfalls mit der Polizei zusammenstießen und in Kämpfen mit Offizieren aus dem Gelände ausbrachen. Zwei Männer wurden zuvor von Beamten nach einem Streit in Handschellen in einen Polizeiwagen geführt.

Am Eingang zum Hafen von Dover wurde jedoch gestern ein weiterer Teststandort eingerichtet, obwohl die Kreuzung von Lieferwagen und Autos blockiert wurde, von denen einige sogar in die falsche Richtung geparkt waren. Weitere Zentren wurden im Vergnügungspark Dreamland in Margate und auf der M20 in Richtung Folkestone eingerichtet.

Die ersten Tester kamen gestern kurz vor 15.30 Uhr in Dover an, als vier Polizeiautos neun von Medizinern gefahrene Fahrzeuge auf einen Parkplatz begleiteten. Die Beamten sprachen mit drei Frauen, die blaue Einweg-Gesichtsmasken und Warnwesten mit dem NHS Test and Trace-Logo trugen, bevor sie zum Passagierempfang des Hafens gingen.

Dutzende von Truckern, die versuchten, ihre Häuser auf dem Kontinent zu erreichen, versuchten sich heute Morgen an Beamten vorbei zu drängen, die den Hafen von Dover bewachten. Hundreds left their cabs and walked along the A20 to the port entrance jeering and whistling, with some shouting in English: 'Open the border', 'We just want to go home' and 'F*** you, Boris!'

At one point several of them surged forwards towards a line of Kent Police officers who were forced to push them back as days of simmering anger at the chaotic situation amid the pandemic bubbled to the surface. Some drivers appeared to have reported negative results with the police, but one officer said many of them were "fake test sheets".

Tensions also boiled over at Manston Airport, where truckers whose lorries are being held staged a protest, broke down fences and blocked roads. Some 150 members of the Armed Forces and NHS staff are working to administer Covid-19 tests at the airport, which are handed to drivers in their cabs to be self-administered under supervision.

The result is then communicated to the driver by text or email and identified by his license plate. It wasn't until after 5pm that Kent Council leader Roger Gough said the first 20 trucks have entered the Eurotunnel to make the crossing.

Meanwhile, a blue van, a white van and a silver Ford Mondeo were the first three vehicles to seemingly get the all clear and be allowed to drive through the port at just before 6.30pm. These were then replaced by a further 12 vehicles shortly afterwards.

A Test and Trace worker wearing PPE talks to a van driver at the Port of Dover last night in a bid to get traffic moving

A Test and Trace worker wearing PPE talks to a van driver at the Port of Dover last night in a bid to get traffic moving

Vehicles lined up this evening at a check point close to the entrance to the Port of Dover, where thousands are looking to head

Vehicles lined up this evening at a check point close to the entrance to the Port of Dover, where thousands are looking to head

Officials talk to drivers as testing commences at the Port of Dover with the aim of getting traffic moving over the Channel

Officials talk to drivers as testing commences at the Port of Dover with the aim of getting traffic moving over the Channel

Staff members wearing hi-vis jackets and visors talk to drivers as testing gets underway at the Port of Dover yesterday evening

Staff members wearing hi-vis jackets and visors talk to drivers as testing gets underway at the Port of Dover yesterday evening

Testing has begun at the Port of Dover after a deal was finally struck between French and British officials late last night

Testing has begun at the Port of Dover after a deal was finally struck between French and British officials late last night

A further test site was this afternoon being set up at the entrance to the Port of Dover, although the junction was blocked by vans and cars with some even parked in the wrong direction

A further test site was this afternoon being set up at the entrance to the Port of Dover, although the junction was blocked by vans and cars with some even parked in the wrong direction

Testers prepare to take samples from drivers parked in the Port of Dover in Kent after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume

Testers prepare to take samples from drivers parked in the Port of Dover in Kent after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume

Lorry drivers stranded in Kent tell of heartache over missing Christmas

Lorry drivers stranded in Kent for the past three days have told MailOnline of their heartache today at missing out on Christmas Day with their families amid the ongoing border chaos.

Thousands of drivers from countries including Hungary, Slovenia and Romania are likely to spend Christmas stuck in the UK after the Government indicated queues outside Dover will not move for at least another 24 hours.

Lorry driver Doma Dumitru, 41, had been hoping to spend tomorrow with his wife Alina, 40, and their 12-year-old daughter Daria Maria back home at Oradea in north-west Romania. He has been stuck in Dover since Monday after France closed its border with Britain following the emergence of the new highly infectious strain of coronavirus.

Mr Dumitru said: 'Normally at Christmas time I'd be with my whole family, my wife, daughter, my mother, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews but this year I'm going to be trapped here in England.

'It's not good, not good at all but this is the perils of the job. I don't want to be here sleeping in my lorry for a fourth night but there isn't anything I can do. I miss my wife and daughter, I've spoken to them on the phone but it isn't the same.

'There's no way that I will reach Romania on Christmas Day, I've already warned them about that. They know that this can happen with the type of work I do but it's still very hard to be away from them at this time of year.

Andik Jozsef, 47, from Rinvauilak in Hungary is parked more than a mile from the front of the queue at Dover. He has told wife Bernadett, 46, son Daniel, 22 and daughter Kristof, 15 that he won't be coming home for Christmas.

Mr Jozsef, who is transporting steel from a factory in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire to Hungary, said: There is no chance that I will get to see my family, there are 6,000 vehicles still to be tested and it's Christmas Eve.

'The testing is going very slowly, I thought it would be quicker, so I'm going to be in my lorry for Christmas Day, there's no doubt about that.

'I want to spend the festivities with my wife, son and daughter at home in comfort not here on a cold road filled with other lorries honking their horns all the time.

'I think France is to blame – they are being awkward on purpose because of the Brexit negotiations with the UK but it's us who are having to pay the price.'

Ivo Ivic, 57, who is transporting chemicals used in building foam from Runcorn in Cheshire to Slovenia, had been looking forward to spending tomorrow with his grandsons Timotes, aged eight and two-year-old Lucian.

He had planned a Christmas meal with wife Ankica, 56, son Jure, 37, and daughter Sama, 38 at home in Vrhnika, Slovenia.

But, shaking his head, Mr Ivic said: 'There's no way that I'm going to be able to see them until Christmas is over. Instead I'm going to still be here in my lorry only a little nearer to the port, the way things are going.

'I was hoping to see my grandsons open their presents but it's just not going to happen. Christmas is a time to be with your family but I'm going to be on my own this year. Hopefully I can get across to France as soon as possible and just get home before New Year.'

Cllr Gough said tensions between police and drivers had calmed down but added the situation remained 'quite fragile'.

He said 100 lorries have left the Manston site for Dover but had been unable to get to the port as it was being blocked by other vehicles.

'On the M20 side of things, the first 20 HGVs have gone into Eurotunnel,' Mr Gough told Sky News, adding that the number should begin to 'pick up' rapidly.

Clashes broke out again between drivers and police at Dover earlier in the day yesterday as officers moved vehicles away from outside the entrance to make room for the testing centre.

One driver laid down on the ground to stop a freight lorry which had earlier come off a ferry from Calais from leaving Dover with about 50 drivers involved in a flare-up.

Any new lorries arriving at Manston, a disused former military airfield, were being directed to Operation Brock on the M20, where 610 vehicles were waiting. A further 632 were placed in Operation Stack on the same motorway.

It comes as Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick last night warned it may take a 'few days' to clear the backlog of lorries waiting to cross the Channel.

He had initially said he hoped HGVs would begin crossing this morning.

Lorry drivers at the entrance yesterday were honking their horns and shouting in protest at being stuck. They stood in small groups shouting, "We want to go home," as they tried to protect themselves from heavy rain and wind.

A deal was finally struck with France after a ban on UK arrivals was imposed by President Macron on Sunday, which has since seen thousands of trucks stranded in Kent, unable to cross the Channel.

The agreement calls for every driver to be tested for coronavirus using controversial lateral flow tests. These can turn the results around in under an hour, but their effectiveness has been questioned.

However, experts warned the UK is still facing an uphill battle to test 6,000 drivers a day for coronavirus – with the International Road Transport Union warning, even a 30-minute test was "absolutely a disaster".

Kent Police said a man was arrested in Dover today for blocking a highway and remains in custody. There are "disruptions in which people in Dover as well as in the DfT-run truck stop facility in Manston were involved".

A spokesman also said: 'At around 10.20am on Wednesday 23 December 2020 in Tothill Street, Minster, two men aged 24 and 35, in separate incidents, were arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and were taken into custody.'

Detectives added that officials at both locations are "working with partner agencies to ensure those planning to travel to the continent are following the latest government travel requirements regarding Covid testing."

A Port of Dover spokesman said trucks had not yet passed the port and couldn't tell how long it would take to clear the backlog. Officials also confirmed that there were no testing facilities in the port itself.

And Eurotunnel officials said the first trucks arrived at Folkestone Terminal at 8 a.m. today. All drivers would have to use the M20 and queue on the coastal roads to be tested for Covid-19.

Those who come back negative will be notified via SMS in just 20 minutes and given the green light to travel. However, positive cases will be given a PCR test – and if they are still positive they will be sent to a Covid-safe hotel to isolate.

Truckers clash with police at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning where thousands of lorries are currently parked up

Truckers clash with police at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning where thousands of lorries are currently parked up

Truckers hold up their hands as they clash with police at the disused Manston Airport in Kent yesterday

Truckers hold up their hands as they clash with police at the disused Manston Airport in Kent yesterday

Truckers clash with police in Manston, where they have blockaded the A299 in Kent yesterday in a mass protest

Truckers clash with police in Manston, where they have blockaded the A299 in Kent yesterday in a mass protest

Lorry drivers at the entrance have been honking their horns and shouting in protest at being stuck. Standing in small groups, they shouted 'we want to go home' as they tried to shelter from heavy rain and strong winds

Lorry drivers at the entrance have been honking their horns and shouting in protest at being stuck. Standing in small groups, they shouted 'we want to go home' as they tried to shelter from heavy rain and strong winds

Lorry drivers at the entrance have been honking their horns and shouting in protest at being stuck. Standing in small groups, they shouted 'we want to go home' as they tried to shelter from heavy rain and strong winds

Police were called in yesterday as tensions rose in Kent, with thousands of drivers waiting to cross the Channel back into France

Police were called in yesterday as tensions rose in Kent, with thousands of drivers waiting to cross the Channel back into France

Freight lorries lined up in Manston Airport in Kent yesterday as drivers wait to get tested for coronavirus this afternoon

Freight lorries lined up in Manston Airport in Kent yesterday as drivers wait to get tested for coronavirus this afternoon

Dark clouds loom over thousands of lorries parked up at Manston airfield in Kent yesterday, waiting to be given the green light to continue their journey over the Channel

Dark clouds loom over thousands of lorries parked up at Manston airfield in Kent yesterday, waiting to be given the green light to continue their journey over the Channel

Truckers remove traffic cones before clashing with police outside Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning

Truckers remove traffic cones before clashing with police outside Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning

Hundreds of angry truckers blockaded the A299 at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday in a mass protest

Hundreds of angry truckers blockaded the A299 at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday in a mass protest

Freight lorries lined up in Manston yesterday after the French announced that journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume

Freight lorries lined up in Manston yesterday after the French announced that journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume

Angry truckers speak to police amid chaotic scenes at the A299 at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning

Angry truckers speak to police amid chaotic scenes at the A299 at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning

Lorry drivers carry out a mass protest at the A299 at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning as the chaos continues

Lorry drivers carry out a mass protest at the A299 at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning as the chaos continues

Chaos at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning where the Covid testing station has been set up for the truckers

Chaos at Manston Airport in Kent yesterday morning where the Covid testing station has been set up for the truckers

Mr. Macron wanted lab processed PCR tests that can take up to 72 hours to get results. But he relented after a third night of talks under pressure from European leaders who were pushing for a compromise.

A timeline of the chaos at the UK-French border

September 20: A swab from a Kent patient arrives at the Lighthouse Lab in Milton Keynes and is sent off to Porton Down for analysis

Early October into November: A swab tests positive for new strain and the Department of Health is informed. Cases of the new variant begin to spike in London

Friday, December 18: The Nervtag committee presents evidence to PM suggesting the new strain has 70 per cent increased transmissibility

Saturday, December 19: Boris Johnson gives a press conference at Downing Street. He effectively cancels Christmas for millions of households and announces Tier 4 restrictions on large areas of the south east. At the conference, he explains a new mutant form of Covid-19 has been found, and that it is believed to be up to 70 per cent more effective at spreading.

Sunday, December 20: France, along with a dozen other countries, bans travel from the UK following the identification of the new Covid strain. France says the blanket ban will last 48 hours so that the countries can find a 'common doctrine' on how to deal with the threat.

Monday, December 21: Boris Johnson hosts a COBRA meeting. Meanwhile, queues of lorries begin forming on the way into Dover, particularly on the M20 in Kent. The Prime Minister appeals to President Emmanuel Macron to reopen the borders. The list of countries to ban UK travel grows to 40. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer says the situation is a 'real emergency'. The government enacts the traffic calming measure Operation Stack in a bid to deal with the mounting traffic on the motorway.

Tuesday, December 22: Operation Brock, Britain's No Deal Brexit travel action plan, is activated. Traffic is moved to nearby Manston Airport. Thousands of lorries are now waiting to cross the Channel. A row emerges between France and the UK over how to reopen the border. The UK wants to test drivers with rapid lateral flow testing, but France wants PCR tests, which can take up to three days to produce a result. EU chiefs call for an end to the travel ban, but has no power to act. France finally agrees to the proposals for lateral flow tests on Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 23: Anger grows among lorry drivers over the delays, with many now fearing missing Christmas with their families in Europe. Clashes take place between the police and drivers. Meanwhile, with a plan now agreed, officials begin to try and put it into place and begin testing. The Cotes des Flandres ferry – the first ship to leave Dover after the restrictions were lifted – arrives at about 3.30am local time. Officials need to test around 600 people an hour to clear the backlog, but as the day goes on, the figure is only around 200. The Armed Forces are brought in to join the testing drive.

Thursday, December 24: Testing continues. France sends 26 firefighters armed with 10,000 tests to help in the effort. But the number of lorries continues to grow, with official estimates at around 6,000, of which 4,000 are at Manston Airport. Grant Shapps says ferry crossings and the Eurostar between Dover and Calais will continue on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to help clear the backlog.

A source in Whitehall said: “Many of these are European trucks – there are many from Poland, for example – and (EU) Member States have told France that they want to bring their drivers home. In the end, Macron folded. & # 39;

Only truck drivers and French and EU citizens or residents who have a substantial reason to travel and show a negative test result that is less than 72 hours old are allowed to enter France until January 6th.

A test site has been established at Manston Airfield, but it is unclear how the thousands of drivers who have parked in town and caused five miles of congestion and congestion will get there. Another test point was opened three miles away today at the Dreamland amusement park in Margate to increase capacity.

A third mobile testing center was also set up at the roundabout at the entrance to the port of Dover, but it was blocked by several vans and cars, some of which were even parked in the wrong direction.

This means that not a single truck was able to enter the port this morning, although the border was technically open. Shortly before 11:30 a.m., a police officer called: "We all have to move and clear the roundabout because a mobile Covid test center is coming here."

One angry Polish driver stuck at Dover yesterday told MailOnline: 'We are sick of this – I've been in Dover for two days and want to go home for Christmas. The French said their border would be opened but we saw no evidence of this. Thousands of people line up to get through the port and the streets stand still. Nobody wants to sleep another night in their taxi. & # 39;

However, a police officer at the scene said, “I understand why they are angry, but they turn their anger on us when the French authorities set the rules. They insist that only people who have tested negative for Covid-19 can get through. Many of these drivers wave with fake test sheets. & # 39;

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of Rochester, Dover and Tonbridge have written a joint statement condemning the 'unacceptable' conditions in Kent.

The message read: 'As Anglican leaders in Kent, we are dismayed by the situation in Dover. We recognise the need to take urgent precautions to slow the spread of the new strain of coronavirus. But to leave seasonal workers, families and some truck drivers without adequate food and sanitary facilities is unacceptable – both for those stranded and for the people of Dover.

'For those now unable to return to their families in mainland Europe for Christmas – at the end of this year of such great suffering – the heartbreak and frustration is immense. Local councils in Kent are stretched to the limit trying to support all those who are stuck. We applaud council workers, churches, other faith groups and volunteers who are providing hot meals and other kinds of support.

'These efforts are heroic. Kent's local authorities are doing everything they can with the resources they have. But this is a national issue and the Government needs to intervene decisively. The necessary provisions must be given for people to endure this ordeal with their dignity intact, making sure enough Covid tests are available so drivers and workers can return home as soon as possible.

'As we reflect on the coming of the Christ-child born in a manger, we are reminded of our responsibility to respect the God-given dignity and value of every human being. May that be the case for the people of Kent, for all those in Dover, in France and everywhere this Christmas.'

There are also concerns about the lack of fresh produce amid the residue. Andrew Opie, Director of the British Retail Consortium for Groceries, said: “It is good news for consumers as the French borders are now open again. However, it is important that the trucks drive over the border as quickly as possible. Until the backlog is cleared and supply chains return to normal, we expect problems with the availability of some fresh goods. & # 39;

PCR vs. Lateral Flow Covid Tests: Chaos as Britain and France clash over the type of tests used for truckers

The French government had previously required that UK travelers, including truckers, conduct PCR testing before arriving in the country. Returning a result can take up to three days. Britain, meanwhile, insisted on faster cross-river tests. A statement tonight confirmed that either a PCR or a lateral flow test sensitive to the new variant will be sufficient, although the EU recommends using rapid tests to avoid disrupting cargo flow.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PCR TEST AND A LATERAL FLOW?

A PCR test can cost up to £ 180 per person with the swab being processed in a laboratory.

The UK, on ​​the other hand, prefers faster tests that are not done in the laboratory and give a result within 15 minutes.

These rapid coronavirus tests, so-called lateral flow tests, can be carried out on site using portable devices.

They are faster and cheaper than the laboratory-based PCR tests that the government uses to diagnose people, but are less accurate.

LATERAL FLOW TESTS ARE FAST – BUT CAN Sacrifice ACCURACY

A lateral flow test uses a swab to take a sample from the person's nose or throat and then process it in a small machine that tries to detect the coronavirus by mixing the sample with something that the virus has would react.

If there is a reaction in the mixture, it suggests that the person is carrying coronavirus. If not, you will get a negative result. This process can be completed in just 15 minutes.

You take your own swab with you, although a specialist will process it through the machine on site.

However, since people often collect the swabs themselves, the accuracy of the test may be affected because they may not push the swab deep enough to obtain enough samples.

The results of the studies varied widely, showing that the tests performed better when the swabs were done by trained medical professionals and worse when people did them themselves.

PCR tests can take several days to produce results – but they are more accurate

These lateral flow tests are different from the gold standard PCR test, scientifically known as the polymerase chain reaction test.

A swab is also used in PCR testing, but it is processed using high-tech laboratory equipment to analyze the genetic sequence of the sample and determine if any of them match the genes of the coronavirus.

This is a much longer and more expensive process that involves multiple types of trained personnel. The analysis process can take hours, with the entire process from swab to receiving the result taking days.

However, it is much more accurate. Under ideal conditions, the tests detect the virus with almost 100 percent accuracy, although this is closer to 70 percent in the real world.

This is comparable to a much lower sensitivity in lateral flow tests. One type of study used in Liverpool suggests that around 50 percent of people who would test positive with PCR would go missing.

WHAT'S THE ADVANTAGE OF THE LATERAL FLOW TEST?

Extreme accuracy can be a disadvantage for PCR because so many people have been infected. However, the tests can detect bits of virus in people who recovered weeks ago and are no longer infectious, which can result in them needing to isolate themselves unnecessarily.

Side flow tests are more likely to miss people carrying the virus, but experts say they have value in weeding out people carrying large amounts of the virus and therefore most likely to spread the disease.

Smart Clinic in London charges customers £ 195 for a PCR test with independent laboratory tests. Pall Mall costs £ 129 for the same test.

The French Embassy in London has issued a list of dozens of antigen tests that are approved for entry into France here.

This includes tests made by WuHan UNscience Biotechnology, Guanzhou WONDFO Biotech, and Anhui Deepblue Medical Technology.

German airline Lufthansa said it was sending a Boeing 777 freighter to Doncaster Sheffield Airport today with 80 tonnes of fruit and vegetables on board, with officials examining whether additional special cargo flights could be flown to the UK over the next days.

Staff wearing fluorescent jackets bearing the NHS Test and Trace logo arrived in Dover last night ahead of the testing rollout after travelling 230 miles from Doncaster.

As many as 6,000 tests a day could be carried out in a bid to help clear the huge backlog, with 170 soldiers also set to be drafted in to help. It comes as:

A man who appeared to be leading a group of drivers protesting at the Port of Dover said yesterday afternoon: 'We are not letting any vehicles out until we can get in. Police told us we will not be tested here at first. Now they are saying the testing centre is on the way.

'I do not believe them. And I am not moving until we are tested and told we can go home.'

Police took control of the roundabout parking police vehicles around it with roads leading to it gridlocked. An officer was heard telling the group: 'We need you to move so we can get the ferries running again. Then we can get you on your way. The testers are on their way.'

The group of drivers stood across the road and waved their hands in the air chanting as police formed a human barrier and pushed them away. Shortly after 2pm yesterday, the group allowed four cars and a white coach carrying P&O staff which had been waiting since around 10am to get into the Port.

Officers had to clear the cars and vans which had blocked the roundabout next to the entrance to let vehicles through. They were escorted into a holding car park inside the Port while police cars blocked any more vehicles from entering the junction.

One policeman screamed 'stop' at an over-eager Romanian lorry driver who attempted to skip the queue.

Meanwhile Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: 'The UK-French border is reopening. Priority is to get lorries moving and mass testing is underway.

“We urge shippers not to travel to Kent as we are working to reduce congestion. Traveling now will slow things down.

'Tourist travellers who are not French residents should not travel.

'My huge thanks goes to the police and Border Force who are working hard to keep everyone safe.'

But Greg Mazurek has been trapped at Dover since Monday after delivering respirators to a medical centre in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. He is trying to return to his home in Poznan, Poland for Christmas.

He said: “The police did not evacuate the port to set up a testing center, but to let trucks out of Dover. That's why the drivers are now stopping the vehicles from leaving because they want to force the police to do something.

“Different police officers told us different things about what was happening. Who do we believe? People are angry because they want to go home. The irony is that I'm more likely to get this new Covid standing here among dozens of people than being alone in my cab which I had been before.'

Passengers from the UK disembarked from ferries in the port of Calais following Britain and France's deal easing the travel ban imposed over the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant. Much of Europe quickly banned the entry of British travelers and British cargo after a communicable strain of the coronavirus was found in the UK.

The ferry & # 39; Cotes des Flandres & # 39; – the first ship to leave Dover after the restrictions were lifted – arrived at around 3:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. UK time), followed shortly after by P & O & # 39; s & # 39; Spirit of France & # 39 ;.

A handful of passenger cars got off the two ships, but according to port officials, traffic should not pick up again until late morning.

At Manston, two Romanian lorry drivers told how they were among the first to be tested.

The couple, named just Marian and Bacy, were tested early in the morning at the airfield 1 mile from Dover.

They received a lateral flow test that is supposed to detect the new strain of Covid-19 and gives results in half an hour.

However, they said they had not yet been informed whether they tested positive or negative.

Marian said: “We're still waiting, so we don't know the results yet. We went to Dover yesterday, but when we found out the testing center was going to be in Manston, we went there. We arrived around 1am and waited a couple of hours and got tested this morning.

& # 39; It was pretty messy, there was some confusion about which forms we needed and which QR code to scan.

'We drove back to Dover afterwards but the whole place is shutdown and nobody is going anywhere.'

Drivers stand with their HGV freight lorries blocking the entrance as they to enter the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

Drivers stand with their HGV freight lorries blocking the entrance as they to enter the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

Police deal with a man lying on the road in front a freight lorry as it tries to leave the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

Police deal with a man lying on the road in front a freight lorry as it tries to leave the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

One driver laid down on the ground to stop a freight lorry which had come off a ferry from Calais from leaving Dover yesterday

The man is removed by police from the road in Dover yesterday

One driver laid down on the ground to stop a freight lorry which had come off a ferry from Calais from leaving Dover yesterday

Traffic blocks the roads around the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday morning after the border was reopened by the French

Traffic blocks the roads around the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday morning after the border was reopened by the French

Lorry drivers remonstrate with each other outside the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

Lorry drivers remonstrate with each other outside the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

Scuffles outside the Port of Dover yesterday afternoon as lorry drivers protest outside the entrance after a 48-hour shutdown

Scuffles outside the Port of Dover yesterday afternoon as lorry drivers protest outside the entrance after a 48-hour shutdown

Lorry drivers play with a ball in the road leading to the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

Lorry drivers play with a ball in the road leading to the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday afternoon

Vehicles wait at the entrance to the Port of Dover which has been blocked by police as they queue to be allowed to leave yesterday

Vehicles wait at the entrance to the Port of Dover which has been blocked by police as they queue to be allowed to leave yesterday

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover today after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover today after French authorities announced that the coronavirus ban was lifted and journeys from the UK will be allowed to resume, but that those seeking to travel must have a negative test result

Police officers stand guard next to the White Cliffs of Dover yesterday morning at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent

Police officers stand guard next to the White Cliffs of Dover yesterday morning at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent

Police hold back crowds of lorry drivers at the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday after it re-opens following a 48-hour shutdown

Police hold back crowds of lorry drivers at the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday after it re-opens following a 48-hour shutdown

Emil Herkt, 26, from Tczew, Poland, delivered a shipment of metal to a warehouse in London on Sunday and has since been stranded in the UK. He said, “It's a ridiculous situation – nobody tells us anything.

“We apparently need to be tested for Covid, but neither of us know where to go. There is a test site in Manston, but it is already full. Plus, it's nearly 20 miles away, and the roads in and out of Dover are paralyzed by traffic.

German ambassador to the UK Andreas Michaelis said he was scheduled to meet with German truck drivers at Manston Airport today, but could not make it through the traffic. He tweeted: 'Went to Manston Airport today. Scheduled to meet up with German truck drivers. Last stretch difficult. Could not reach the airfield. Could only speak to them on the phone. Still very difficult situation for them. Too little information'

German ambassador to the UK Andreas Michaelis said he was scheduled to meet with German truck drivers at Manston Airport today, but could not make it through the traffic. He tweeted: 'Went to Manston Airport today. Scheduled to meet up with German truck drivers. Last stretch difficult. Could not reach the airfield. Could only speak to them on the phone. Still very difficult situation for them. Too little information'

“How do we get there anyway? Why didn't the authorities set up any tests here at the port where everyone is located? It's ridiculous when people struggle to get back to their homes for Christmas.

"The French are very clumsy and I mainly blame them, but the UK authorities have not handled this situation very well either."

Ovidiu Badoiu, 47, a Romanian truck driver who drove to the UK over the weekend to deliver a supply of fans to a factory in Telford, Shropshire, has been stuck in Dover since Monday.

He said: “It's really difficult, I picked up my cargo in Romania and took it to the destination in the Midlands on Sunday and came to Dover the next day, where I slept in my truck for the last two nights.

“There are no toilets here, there is nowhere to wash. I live in Valencia, Spain and I want to go back to my wife just in time for Christmas. I think the French are exaggerating, why don't they let the trucks through? Hardly any of us stop in France and only travel to other destinations. & # 39;

British trucker Eric Johnson, 50, waited to collect his empty trailer in Dover port before returning to Wolverhampton.

He spent two nights at the Motis rest stop on the A20 in Dover with colleagues Dave King (48) and Dean Hammond (31). The trio had delivered a load of Caterpillar heavy machinery parts to Lokeren (Belgium).

While Mr. King and Mr. Hammond were able to collect their empty containers last night, Mr. Johnson was delayed. He left at 6:00 a.m. today after showering and shaving to go home for Christmas.

Lorry drivers are stopped by police at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as the chaos on the south coast continues

Lorry drivers are stopped by police at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as the chaos on the south coast continues

The Port of Dover in Kent is seen empty this morning despite the UK and France agreeing a deal to reopen the border

The Port of Dover in Kent is seen empty this morning despite the UK and France agreeing a deal to reopen the border

A police officer speaks to lorry drivers at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

A police officer speaks to lorry drivers at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning amid further chaotic scenes on the south coast

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning amid further chaotic scenes on the south coast

Police officers patrol at the Port of Dover today with thousands of lorries stranded around Kent this afternoon

Police officers patrol at the Port of Dover today with thousands of lorries stranded around Kent this afternoon

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as the pre-Christmas chaos continued

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as the pre-Christmas chaos continued

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover today after French authorities said the coronavirus ban was lifted

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover today after French authorities said the coronavirus ban was lifted

Police clash with drivers outside the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent as the roundabout is cleared this afternoon

Police clash with drivers outside the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent as the roundabout is cleared this afternoon

A man shouts at police officers at the Port of Dover this morning. Thousands of lorries were stranded around Kent after France banned all travel from the UK on Sunday, citing concerns over a new variant of Covid-19

A man shouts at police officers at the Port of Dover this morning. Thousands of lorries were stranded around Kent after France banned all travel from the UK on Sunday, citing concerns over a new variant of Covid-19

Drivers stand in front of a truck as they block one of the exit lanes at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

Drivers stand in front of a truck as they block one of the exit lanes at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

Police officers stand in line across the exit lane at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

Police officers stand in line across the exit lane at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

A police officer talks with lorry drivers queued at the Port of Dover in Kent today as thousands are stranded in the county

A police officer talks with lorry drivers queued at the Port of Dover in Kent today as thousands are stranded in the county

But he was moving less than half a mile in four hours on the A20 approaching the port and has no idea when to get off. Mr Johnson said, “To be honest, I feel so depressed right now. I keep forgetting what day it is today.

The virus variant means that rapid tests for Operation Moonshot are now key to breaking the deadlock in Dover. However, they can be effectively useless in self-management

The Road Haulage Association has confirmed that the Army is working with NHS staff at Manston Airport to run tests for carriers to be self-managed under supervision in their cabins.

The result is communicated to the driver by SMS or email and identified by his license plate.

Number 10's ambitious Operation Moonshot, however, has come under fire from top scientists amid concerns that rapid coronavirus testing being rolled out across the UK will not be good enough as ministers postponed plans to open mass test centers over Christmas.

Moonshot was envisioned as a way to use the quick kits, which cost a fraction of the price of gold standard PCR testing, to test millions of people and help them get back on overseas flights, stadiums and venues, and children in them to keep classroom.

Lateral swabs provide results in a few minutes, but according to the Ministry of Health, they miss about half of the infections.

Damn evidence, however, shows they can be effectively useless in self-management, even though Downing Street's current testing scheme relies on people taking their own swabs.

French President Emmanuel Macron has even specifically requested that truck drivers traveling across the English Channel from the UK be tested with higher quality PCR as nations continue to argue over the Kent roadblock.

If rapid tests miss large proportions of cases, they trigger outbreaks caused by people who believe they have the all-clear but are actually infected, experts fear.

Tests are more accurate when swabs are done by trained professionals as they have to be pushed deep into the nose or throat. Scientists fear, however, that the UK simply doesn't have the money or the free doctors to do it across the country every day. Instead, health bosses are accepting DIY swabs to save time.

Government departments have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on various types of cross-flow tests for the public and in hospitals, and they are being tested by councils across the country to try to weed out silent infections.

Concerns about their accuracy have reportedly led to plans to open mass testing centers over Christmas being put on hold, raising fears among public health directors that resulted in the program being scaled back, The Guardian reported.

Companies that run the three tests approved by the Department of Health say they are between 95 and 99 percent accurate in detecting cases under laboratory conditions. However, early real-word studies suggest that tests fail to meet manufacturers' demands for accuracy. However, some companies insist that their tests are for medical use only, which means the government is not using them properly.

Scientists caution against giving a false sense of security, as no test is good enough to rule out infection in someone who is not symptomatic and does not prevent them from picking up the virus on their way home from the test.

It comes from the fact that the UK Medical Device Regulatory Authority approved a side flow test for home use, but said it should not be used to allow people to change their behavior if they get a negative result.

& # 39; It's Wednesday, right? I spent two nights in the cabin and 50 hours in Dover, but as soon as I can return home, I'm stuck in it. It just doesn't move and has apparently been like that since 1am when the border reopened.

“Luckily I saved enough food and water, but now the problem is that I don't have a toilet. I can't just leave my truck here. I've seen people try the doors of empty vehicles. & # 39;

Several drivers honked their horns loudly to protest the delays, which set off a chain reaction of miles of beeps. Minds had flared earlier in the morning when patience waned, according to Mr Johnson.

He added, “I don't think many people here in line have actually been tested. Apparently some drivers rammed metal barriers in Manston. And some here stormed the cones at the port entrance while they hustled the police.

“I scratched my head how this happened and how you can solve it. There is an empty lane next to us. Then why can't they leave the fast lane to let people into the harbor and keep traffic moving?

"I just want to go home now, but I think I could call it an Ashford Truck Stop night."

The roads to Dover were blocked today, causing traffic chaos with hundreds of vehicles parked waiting to be lowered to the ferry terminal. Residential streets up to three miles from the harbor stood still.

Locals were bare the brunt of the traffic jam, and some opted to do a U-turn and retreat home. Vehicles were held on the A2 Jubilee Way with queues for five miles back to the Honeywood industrial estate.

Traffic at the Whitfield Roundabout continued on the A256 – the main road truck drivers who completed their Covid-19 test at Manston Airport near Ramsgate are returning to the port of Dover.

Raluca Marian, General Delegate of the International Road Transport Union in the European Union, told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “We are definitely in a better place than yesterday. At least the border is open now.

& # 39; But testing is a big problem. We now have several thousand drivers at Manston Airport and in the Kent area, but we estimate around 10,000 and around 7,000 to get there.

& # 39; We are happy that we finally have a deal, that the borders are open. At the same time, this testing is a big challenge for us and we don't think it will work. The backlog cannot be fixed if you are given 30 minutes per driver. Even with these quick tests, this will be an absolute disaster.

& # 39; In the spring we had the famous temperature controls on the Austrian border in the first wave of the corona. It was a lot less than 30 minutes, about five to ten minutes, and we had 37 mile (60 km) queues just for those temperature checks.

“That was a constant flow, so we weren't behind. Now we have stacked 10,000 trucks. So, New Year's Eve, after New Year's Eve, difficult to calculate.

“We know the European Commission supports this and that there is pressure on France to accept a better test solution. We know France insisted on doing PCR testing for everyone, which is absolutely insane, especially truck drivers.

'This is really a lonely profession, they are alone in their cabins, they are not spreading.

'They are not only unnecessary, it's a breach of France's commitment earlier in the year when they committed to leave the logistics chain unaffected.

'So we hope to have – at least if these tests are being kept, which we really hope not to be, we want no testing for truck drivers because even a 30-minute test is a disaster – but if these are kept, at least a kind of a compromise whereby you might have a testing corridor in France and not everybody stuck in the UK and tested there, could be reached and accepted by France, and we know the Commission is supporting that.'

Downing Street sources admit the programme 'won't be perfect' from the off given its unprecedented nature, and warn that it could still be several days before traffic is flowing smoothly again.

Lorry drivers hold up their arms as they tussle with police at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

Lorry drivers hold up their arms as they tussle with police at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

Police officers patrol in front of queues of vans and lorries at the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

Police officers patrol in front of queues of vans and lorries at the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

Waiting lorry drivers cook in the back of a trailer at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

Waiting lorry drivers cook in the back of a trailer at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

A man speaks to a police officer at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning with thousands of lorry drivers stranded

A man speaks to a police officer at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning with thousands of lorry drivers stranded

Lorry drivers are stopped by police officers at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as the chaotic scenes continue

Lorry drivers are stopped by police officers at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as the chaotic scenes continue

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning after France lifted the travel ban

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning after France lifted the travel ban

The Port of Dover in Kent is seen empty this morning despite the UK and France agreeing a protocol to reopen the border

The Port of Dover in Kent is seen empty this morning despite the UK and France agreeing a protocol to reopen the border

Lorry drivers remonstrate with police officers as they ask for Covid-19 tests to be brought to them at the Port of Dover today

Lorry drivers remonstrate with police officers as they ask for Covid-19 tests to be brought to them at the Port of Dover today

Lorry drivers wait at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning amid chaotic scenes witnessed across the county today

Lorry drivers wait at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning amid chaotic scenes witnessed across the county today

Lorries are parked on M20 motorway near Ashford this morning as the chaotic scenes on the roads in Kent continue

Lorries are parked on M20 motorway near Ashford this morning as the chaotic scenes on the roads in Kent continue

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the port in Kent today after French authorities announced that the ban was lifted

Police hold back drivers trying to enter the port in Kent today after French authorities announced that the ban was lifted

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News yesterday: 'We have had productive discussions over the last 24 to 48 hours, they have reached what seems like a sensible way forwards.

Pariah Britain: Singapore and the Philippines are the latest countries to ban UK flights from Christmas Eve over new mutant Covid strain taking total number of nations imposing restrictions to 55

Two more countries have imposed travel bans on the UK ahead of Christmas Eve after the identification of a new coronavirus strain in Britain.

Singapore bans British travelers from entering the country from Wednesday evening. Health officials in the Philippines say they will suspend flights from the UK from Christmas Eve until December 31.

It brings the total number of countries restricting entry to UK travellers to at least 55.

The latest bans could also have a wider impact on British travellers, with Singapore a popular stop-off for those flying from the UK to Australia.

Singapore health officials say transit from the UK through the Southeast Asian city-state will not be allowed under the new travel ban.

The Department of Health's website states: “All long-term passport holders and short-term visitors with a recent history of travel to the UK within the last 14 days are not allowed to enter or travel through Singapore.

"This also applies to everyone who has previously received an entry permit for Singapore."

Transit through the Philippines for travelers from the UK is also prohibited.

It comes after Greece and Cyprus both announced that UK passengers would need to run three separate Covid tests to gain access to contain the spread of a mutant strain of the virus – while all other EU member states have slammed their doors on the UK.

Both nations require evidence of a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test before arrival, followed by a rapid lateral test after landing and a third after a period of self-isolation.

PCR tests need to be done in a laboratory, while lateral flow tests can give results in 15 minutes but are less accurate.

This is particularly the case when people administer the test themselves, as they often do not push the swab deep enough to get enough of a sample.

Greece and Cyprus are the only EU members that have not imposed blanket bans on British travelers. France today lifted its ban to French nationals, Britons living in France, as well as haulage vehicles.

Yesterday the European Commission advised all other 25 states to lift their embargo on trains, planes and lorries from Britain to avoid further disruption.

'There is going to be quite a lot of work to do over the next few days and this isn't going to be an issue that will be resolved immediately.

'I wish events hadn't played out in the way they have, but they have, we now have to move on and ensure that traffic can flow as quickly as possible across the Channel.

'I hope that this morning you'll see people and HGVs crossing the Channel at the short straits. We're putting in place the infrastructure, so the Armed Forces will be doing that in the first instance to help us to set that up and to get through some of the backlog that you've seen.

'They will then in turn hand over to civilians who will take this forward. We have a good operation in Kent that's been tested very significantly in the last few days, led by the Kent Resilience Forum, but it has performed well.

'So the work that had been done over a number of years to create the facility at Manston Airport, to create Operation Stack on the motorway, has worked quite successfully, but there is now a great deal to do.

'The procedures are there. There will be testing at Manston and at multiple other locations. If you test positive using the swift lateral flow test, you'll then be offered a PCR test, so you can get an even more refined outcome.

'If you test positive again, you will then be offered Covid-secure hotel accommodation, and we've procured the first one of those not so far away.

'So the HGV drivers will be able to drive there, leave their lorry there, and self-isolate for the next ten days before they're able to cross the Channel successfully.'

The Communities Secretary said as of 7pm last night that there were just under 3,000 lorries at the disused airfield site at Manston,.

Between 700 to 800 were part of Operation Stack on the M20, he said but 'other HGVs and smaller vehicles are parked elsewhere in Kent'.

'Whatever the number is, whether it is 4,000 or more, it is a significant number to work through,' he acknowledged as he advised hauliers not to travel to Kent.

The Road Haulage Association said the testing regime 'still means we will have delays at the border'.

The RHA estimates between 8,000 and 10,000 delayed lorries are now in Kent and its surrounding areas, in truck stops and at depots waiting for borders to reopen and to cross the Channel.

Chief executive Richard Burnett said: 'It's hats off to the Secretary of State for Transport for making this happen sooner than originally anticipated.

'However, I fear that the thousands of truckers stranded in Kent aren't out of the woods yet. The massive backlog of vehicles will take time to clear and hundreds of drivers run the risk or not getting home in time for Christmas'.

The RHA added that on-site staff at Manston are providing tests to hauliers to be self-administered in their cabs under supervision.

The result is communicated to the driver by SMS or email and identified by his license plate. The French Government will also carry out sample testing on incoming freight to the UK.

It is expected the Department for Transport will set out further details of the testing programme.

Lorries which departed a DFDS ferry were trapped and abandoned in the Port after a foreign van blocked the A2 Jubilee Way carriageway out of Dover.

Lorry drivers remonstrate with police officers as they ask for Covid-19 tests to be brought to them at the Port of Dover today

Lorry drivers remonstrate with police officers as they ask for Covid-19 tests to be brought to them at the Port of Dover today

Lorry drivers trying to get to the Continent are stopped by police officers at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

Lorry drivers trying to get to the Continent are stopped by police officers at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

People walk past the line of freight lorries waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

People walk past the line of freight lorries waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

A man smokes a cigarette in the back of a van which is parked on a roundabout at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

A man smokes a cigarette in the back of a van which is parked on a roundabout at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

A man is restrained by a police officer at the Port of Dover in Kent today as tensions boil over this morning

A man is restrained by a police officer at the Port of Dover in Kent today as tensions boil over this morning

A driver remonstrates with a police officer while trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

A driver remonstrates with a police officer while trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

A message posted on the windscreen of a lorry waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

A message posted on the windscreen of a lorry waiting to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

A woman shouts at a police officer at the Port of Dover in Kent today amid chaotic scenes on the south coast this morning

A woman shouts at a police officer at the Port of Dover in Kent today amid chaotic scenes on the south coast this morning

The Port of Dover in Kent re-opens this morning after a 48-hour shutdown when France closed its borders from the UK

The Port of Dover in Kent re-opens this morning after a 48-hour shutdown when France closed its borders from the UK

Lorry drivers walk along the road at The Port of Dover in Kent this morning amid chaotic scenes following the reopening

Lorry drivers walk along the road at The Port of Dover in Kent this morning amid chaotic scenes following the reopening

Gridlock in Dover this morning after the port re-opens after a 48-hour shutdown when France closed its borders from the UK

Gridlock in Dover this morning after the port re-opens after a 48-hour shutdown when France closed its borders from the UK

A man takes a photograph of a DFDS ferry docked at the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

A man takes a photograph of a DFDS ferry docked at the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon

Mr Burnett said that the queues of lorries on the M20 might not be cleared until Boxing Day.

Covid-19 tests for lorry drivers will lead to border delays, haulier group says

Imposing a coronavirus testing regime on lorry drivers crossing the English Channel 'still means we will have delays at the border' and that UK supply chains will be hit, according to the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said rapid lateral flow tests – which can give results in about 30 minutes – will be used to test HGV drivers at the ports in a deal to reopen the border between France and the UK.

The French authorities will be carrying out similar testing on hauliers entering the UK in a programme that is set to get under way on Wednesday.

The RHA estimates between 8,000 and 10,000 delayed lorries are now in Kent and its surrounding areas, in truck stops and at depots waiting for borders to reopen and to cross the Channel.

A spokesman added: 'Even if the border is opened up, a short delay in the process is going to mean huge delays in the supply chain.'

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.'

The welfare of the drivers is also an issue, with Mr Burnett saying: '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?'

Mr Burnett also questioned what would happen to the drivers who test positive.

'They will be unfit to drive but where will they go?,' he added. 'They will be unable to quarantine with their families in Europe and what will happen to their vehicles?

'Who will be responsible for the deep cleaning of their cabs? And for those carrying return loads, what will happen to their cargo? This is going to be an extremely expensive exercise.'

It is expected the Department for Transport will set out the full details of the testing programme on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced a temporary relaxation of drivers' hours for hauliers – increasing the driving limit of nine hours to 11 – to help them get through UK borders safely over the coming weeks.

He added: 'I think there's no clear picture as to how long it's going to take, but my estimations after conversations with Grant Shapps is it could be Boxing Day.

“Part of the problem is that the Eurotunnel has limited service and the ferries are likely to be ready tomorrow morning. The border police aren't going to be working on Christmas Day in France.

'Bearing in mind the government has been trying to prepare for transition which is in eight days' time, you would've expected these plans to be well rehearsed. It's an absolute disgrace that they're not well prepared at all. Es ist ein Szenario, das im Falle eines No-Deals hätte passieren können. & # 39;

He added that Manston Airport, the main test center for drivers, was overcrowded with trucks. He said: 'The current situation is that Manston is gridlocked and Brock and Stack are in place.

'They're trying to do the lateral flow tests, anything between 100 and 300 per hour. It's more likely to be the lower number than the higher number. & # 39;

He added: 'They're going to give drivers two litres of water every day. We have to make sure that the drivers have enough food and water. The Kent County Council gave granola bars yesterday morning which was not enough.

"The Sikh community was out with food stalls and the Salvation Army last night, but the government should have done so."

Mr Burnett added that 20 takeaway food vans which were meant to be coming to Manston Airport this morning had still not arrived. Many drivers have been without shower facilities for more than two days.

Mr Burnett said he understood that testing was now underway on the approach road to Dover for drivers who were stuck in the queue outside the port.

Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover, said it would take days to sort out the disruption caused by the closure of the border.

She said: 'It is welcome news that the French have re-opened the border. But they shouldn't have shut it in the first place. France's actions have caused unnecessary and unacceptable levels of widespread disruption to Dover and the surrounding area.

'It will take some days to unwind and sort out the disruption caused by the French. Local residents are rightly very angry about this and the impact on the town.

'Setting up a testing capability of this scale from a standing start is a massive task. All the more so as lorries are scattered all over the area.

'However, testing is now underway, and that must include mobile testing units in Dover town itself so that the traffic starts to clear from the town.'

Van driver Emil Leveu, 30, is desperate to return home for his eight-month-old son Dominic's first Christmas. His vehicle is filled with presents for poor children back in his home country of Romania from English charities.

He welled up as he said: 'I just want to get back home for Christmas with my first child Dominic. It will be such a special moment in his life and if I miss it because of this, I will be furious.

Cross-channel ferries operated by DFDS sit moored to the quayside at the blockaded Port in Dover in Kent this afternoon

Cross-channel ferries operated by DFDS sit moored to the quayside at the blockaded Port in Dover in Kent this afternoon

People sleep in their vehicles as they queue trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

People sleep in their vehicles as they queue trying to enter the Port of Dover in Kent this morning

Vehicles wait at the entrance to the Port of Dover, that is blocked by police, as they queue to be allowed to leave today

Vehicles wait at the entrance to the Port of Dover, that is blocked by police, as they queue to be allowed to leave today

A driver shows a police officer his mobile phone at the Port of Dover as it re-opens this morning after the 48-hour shutdown

A driver shows a police officer his mobile phone at the Port of Dover as it re-opens this morning after the 48-hour shutdown

Vehicles wait at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon which has been blocked by police

Vehicles wait at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent this afternoon which has been blocked by police

Police officers speak to drivers at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as cross-Channel traffic gets back underway

Police officers speak to drivers at the Port of Dover in Kent this morning as cross-Channel traffic gets back underway

The town centre of Dover was also gridlocked this morning as lorry drivers clashed with police at the Kent town's port

The town centre of Dover was also gridlocked this morning as lorry drivers clashed with police at the Kent town's port

Lorries queue up on the A2 on the outskirts of Dover this morning as the traffic chaos around the Kent port town continues

Lorries queue up on the A2 on the outskirts of Dover this morning as the traffic chaos around the Kent port town continues

A driver shows a police officer his phone displaying a negative Covid-19 test result at the Port of Dover in Kent today

A driver shows a police officer his phone displaying a negative Covid-19 test result at the Port of Dover in Kent today

Passengers board a Eurostar train at St Pancras International station in London today as services resume to the Continent

Passengers board a Eurostar train at St Pancras International station in London today as services resume to the Continent

'I want to spend the holidays with my family but I don't think I'll be able to. This makes me so sad because I look around and see other parents stuck here missing their kids too.

Which countries have banned flights from the UK?

EU

All flights from UK banned –

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.

British travelers allowed with negative test –

Cyprus, Greece – required three negative tests plus self-isolation.

Own nationals are still allowed to enter –

Hungary, Portugal, Spain. From today France is allowing French nationals, British nationals living in France and haulage vehicles to enter

REST OF EUROPE

All flights from UK banned –

Norway, Switzerland, Turkey,

REST OF THE WORLD

All flights from UK banned –

Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Iran, Jamaica, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, The Philippines.

Own nationals are still allowed to enter –

Singapur

British travelers allowed with negative test –

Liberia, USA.

'We have charities calling us saying 'where is our parcel?' I have to tell them it is still stuck in Dover. I came back here last night after getting a private Covid test at a testing centre. I came back negative.

'I now have an appointment to cross the border but now that say only tourists and small cars. So now I am stuck right at the front of the queue. I will not even stop in France or get out as I have enough diesel in the car. I have been here for three days with no sleep, no shower, no nothing.'

Fellow Romanian van driver Florin Albu, 28, said after berating police officers for not letting him through: 'I went to Manston and paid for the test. I am negative. I was told the test is free but when I got there, I had to pay £150 of my own money.

'This is s***. The problem is the French are like this because of Brexit. It has nothing to do with Covid. This is all because England is leaving the EU. It is punishment and we are the victims.'

Bulgarian national Niko Mirchev, 23, has been stuck in Dover for four days and is in the gridlocked queues without having a coronavirus test.

The DHL delivery driver who has lived in Portsmouth since the age of 18 said: 'If we are stuck for more days then it is not the end of the world for me as an adult but it is the little children who are stuck here that I really feel sorry for.

'I just want to be home with my family for Christmas, as does every other person here including the policemen. In two days it will be Christmas and I could still be 3000km away from my family.

'One Romanian man I spoke to said his mother is waiting for him in hospital and told him all she wants for Christmas is him to be there with her. It is just not fair.

'You cannot be calm in this situation as they have just shut the border and done nothing about it. Macron and the people in charge of this are not human. They are not even animals.

'An animal would either eat you or leave you alone. They would not f*** us like this.'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the French police were only acting on the agreement to reopen the border from this morning and 'severe delays' were continuing.

He said: 'Testing has begun as we look to get traffic moving again between the UK and France. However, French border police only acting on agreement from this morning and severe delays continue.

'Please AVOID Kent while the backlog is cleared. Arriving in the area will delay your journey.'

Staff wearing fluorescent jackets bearing the NHS Test and Trace logo arrived in Dover yesterday evening ahead of the huge testing regime, having made a 230-mile journey from Doncaster, according to ITV journalist Harry Peet

Staff wearing fluorescent jackets bearing the NHS Test and Trace logo arrived in Dover yesterday evening ahead of the huge testing regime, having made a 230-mile journey from Doncaster, according to ITV journalist Harry Peet

People wait for the reopening of the Port of Dover at the port entrance in Kent in the rain last night

People wait for the reopening of the Port of Dover at the port entrance in Kent in the rain last night

A man gestures on his knees as lorry drivers demand the reopening of the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday

A man gestures on his knees as lorry drivers demand the reopening of the Port of Dover in Kent yesterday

Drivers and passengers of vehicles try to access the port at Dover in Kent overnight as they are spoken to by police

Drivers and passengers of vehicles try to access the port at Dover in Kent overnight as they are spoken to by police

A person sleeps in a car seat amid chaotic scenes at The Port of Dover in Kent which have now been going on for days

A person sleeps in a car seat amid chaotic scenes at The Port of Dover in Kent which have now been going on for days

A man tries to jump start a van as he waits for the reopening of the Port of Dover in Kent overnight

A man tries to jump start a van as he waits for the reopening of the Port of Dover in Kent overnight

Drivers and passengers of vehicles try to access the port at Dover in Kent overnight as they speak to officers

Drivers and passengers of vehicles try to access the port at Dover in Kent overnight as they speak to officers

Traffic heads for The Port of Dover in Kent overnight but is at a complete standstill

Traffic heads for The Port of Dover in Kent overnight but is at a complete standstill

Police direct traffic at the entry to the Port of Dover in Kent overnight as the chaos continues

Police direct traffic at the entry to the Port of Dover in Kent overnight as the chaos continues

Police officers block access to the port in Dover overnight after France closed its borders to accompanied freight

Police officers block access to the port in Dover overnight after France closed its borders to accompanied freight

Earlier, Mr Shapps had 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.

Tough new measures from Greece and Cyprus

UK travelers must meet the following requirements to enter both countries.

Greece:

Evidence of a negative PCR test before arrival;

Rapid cross-flow test on arrival, followed by 10 days of self-isolation;

A second PCR test afterwards.

Cyprus:

Evidence of a negative PCR test before arrival;

PCR on arrival followed by seven days of self-isolation;

A second PCR test afterwards.

'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.'

France and the UK had previously been at loggerheads over which type of test would be required to allow trucks back on the road, with the travel ban imposed in response to fears about the spread of the more infectious coronavirus strain, which is spreading rapidly in the UK.

Mr Macron demanded the gold-standard PCR tests are used, which are more expensive, lab-based tests that can take up to 72 hours to process.

The UK, on the other hand, had wanted to use the faster lateral flow tests which can provide results within an hour – even though these are considered less effective unless administered by a nurse and were even dubbed effectively useless.

In a statement, the French foreign affairs ministry said that from midnight today there would be a 'limited resumption of the movement of people from the United Kingdom to France subject to negative health tests sensitive to the variant'.

It added that a negative test result, taken less than 72 hours before the journey, is required and this can be either a PCR or lateral flow test sensitive to the new variant, though a Department for Transport statement only mentions the quick tests.

Those who can travel include French and EU citizens, British or third country nationals who normally live in France or the EU, as well as some other groups.

The deal marks a major breakthrough after a long period of deadlock. Brussels has called for an end to the border blockade which left 4,000 more trucks parked in Kent.

Mr Shapps had tweeted last night: 'Good progress today and agreement with the French Government on borders. We will provide an update on the carriers later that evening, but the carriers are NOT allowed to travel to Kent tonight. & # 39;

All-clear for Covid-19 tests at home: Tens of millions of 30-minute virus swabs are set to be sent out… but you can only use them to confirm you need to isolate – NOT to make decisions on whether to mix with family and friends

Rapid Covid tests have been cleared for use at home – but with strict conditions attached, it has emerged.

Regulators have given approval for Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) that provide results in 30 minutes and can be used by members of the public at home.

Boris Johnson's hopes of avoiding lengthy lockdowns in the future are based in part on the approval of the tests, tens of millions of which are already stored in UK warehouses.

The Medicines and Health Products Regulator (MHRA) reportedly blocked a plan to send millions of the tests to households last week.

But now they have received the all-clear, according to the Financial Times.

However, it is said that the regulator has set strict conditions for its use – which could limit its appropriateness as an alternative to social distancing.

The MHRA is to "emphasize that the devices can only be used to" find "cases of Covid-19 infection so that people who did not know they had the virus can isolate".

'They are not to be used to 'enable' people to make life decisions,' they added.

In a lateral flow test, fluid is taken in a swab of the nose or the throat and applied to a piece of absorbent paper that will change colour to indicate whether or not the virus is present, taking just 15 to 30 minutes to produce a result

Ministers have proposed LFDs to help regions get out of tougher lockdowns, allow relatives to visit nursing home residents and open schools on time in January.

However, there is heated debate over whether they are effective enough to allow people to make decisions about their behavior and movements.

Oxford University initially found that the tests picked up 77 percent of cases and rose to over 90 percent of the most contagious cases.

However, the accuracy decreased from 79 percent when used by experts to 58 percent when used by ordinary people without training.

Field tests in Liverpool showed that the LFDs only received 49 percent of the cases.

The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) said earlier this month that cross-flow testing should not be seen as a stand-alone way to enable high-risk activities, but could rather reduce the risk of activities that are supposed to occur, however '.

French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari added: "French nationals, residents and anyone with a legitimate reason to be here must test negative."

Eurotunnel said only pre-booked passengers who had already tested negative should go to its terminal.

'From 23:00hrs on 22/12/2020, to travel to France passengers will need: – A negative result from a Covid-19 test accepted by the French Government – Taken in the last 72 hours – An email or SMS certificate issued by the testing facility. Please ensure you meet the French Government's criteria before travelling to our terminal.

'There is no Covid-19 testing facility at Eurotunnel. Go to our website to book or amend tickets. PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE WITHOUT A BOOKING AS WE ARE FULLY BOOKED.'

The UK military is reportedly preparing to test up to 6,000 hauliers a day with the controversial cross-river test.

The EU has urged European countries to lift all travel bans on the UK, including freight, as more and more trucks fill the motorway and back roads near Dover.

In the recommendation of the block it was suggested to run quick tests in order to avoid disturbances of the cargo flow.

The European Commission also published guidance at lunchtime yesterday recommending all non-essential travel to and from the UK should be 'discouraged' because of the risk posed by a new mutant strain of coronavirus which spreads quicker than its predecessor.

But it added: "Flight and train bans should be removed as essential travel needs to be ensured and supply chain disruptions avoided."

Regarding the specific issue of allowing UK truck drivers to return to the continent, Brussels said the process "should not cause transport disruption" if a Member State requires them to have a coronavirus test before being allowed become – something France has been pushing for. .

Behind the scenes there was a heated argument over the subject of truck driver testing, with France and the UK both advocating different testing methods.

Operation Moonshot, Number 10's ambitious plan to use the rapid kits to test million of people, came under fire from top scientists, with the Department of Health admitting they miss around a half of infections.

In addition, even though Downing Street's current testing scheme is based on people taking their own swabs, damn evidence now shows they may be effectively useless in self-management.

Hundreds of soldiers are being deployed to the former Manston airfield, according to the Times, where they will use the 20-minute lateral flow tests on drivers, with those returning positive results told to isolate in hotels.

Even despite last night's breakthrough, the scale of the backlog on both sides of the Channel means disruption at the ports is expected to last until at least Christmas Eve, with supermarkets warning of potential shortages of fruit and vegetables unless solutions are sped up.

Rachel Reeves, Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister, has accused the Government of 'dither and delay' over its handling of the situation in Kent.

She said: 'Once again, our communities, local businesses and restaurants are having to step up to the plate to feed lorry drivers who are stranded and exhausted.

'All this while businesses exporting British produce are halted and put under even more strain by the chaos. We really don't need any more dither and delay from this Government.'

Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at business group Logistics UK, has said it is 'vital' that testing procedures are 'stood up fast to ensure drivers can be processed and get home for Christmas safely'.

She added: 'The backlog of traffic across the region will take time to clear so hauliers should wait for further news before travelling to Kent.'

.(tagsToTranslate)dailymail(t)news(t)Coronavirus(t)Conservatives(t)France(t)Downing Street(t)Boris Johnson(t)UK Government News and updates on the British Cabinet(t)Emmanuel Macron