December 20, 2020

New Variant of Coronavirus in the UK

New strain of Coronavirus detected in the UK adds further supply chain challenges. 

Brexit discussions have continued over the weekend, and with just ten days to go, no deal has yet been approved by the United Kingdom government and the European Union. 

The European parliament had agreed that a deadline would be Sunday evening, however it is yet to be made clear if a signifcant breakthrough has been made towards negotiating a trade deal. The Brexit transition period ends on 31st December, 2020. 

Agreements on fair competition and fisheries are yet to be reached, however, there remains some positivity amongst senior leaders that a deal is still feasible, even at this late stage. 

To further add to the complexity in supply chains that the end of the Brexit transition period may bring, a new variant of the Coronavirus has been detected in the United Kingdom.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, placed London and a significant area of the south east of England in 'tier 4', the highest level of alert that currently exists for lockdown measures. A new variant of the Coronavirus has been detected that appears to spread the virus at a faster rate.

In reaction to this statement, many European countries and Canada have banned flights carrying passengers from the UK in an attempt to suppress infection rates. Freight shipments will also be impacted. Dover port has stopped exports to France for the next 48 hours. 

The following statement was made by Dover port on Sunday evening: 

'Accompanied freight and passenger customers are asked not to travel to the Port. Unaccompanied traffic continues to be allowed into France. We understand that the restrictions will be in place for 48 hours from midnight (CET).

All traffic into the UK is currently unaffected by those restrictions (subject to pre-existing travel constraints for tourists) but please check with ferry operators regarding their sailings.' Further information will be made available on Dover Ports website here

The Eurotunnel also issued the following statement:

'Following the announcement by the French Government that it will not accept persons arriving from the UK for at least 48 hours from midnight CET, access to the Eurotunnel Folkestone terminal will be suspended for passenger and Freight traffic from 22:00 GMT, Sunday 20 December. Customers with bookings after this time are advised NOT to travel to the terminal as they will not be able to cross to France.'

The situation is unfolding rapidly and the UK Goverment will be holding an emergency meeting to discuss the EU travel bans on Monday morning. 

For all the latest transportation information on the Coronavirus, visit our COVID-19 section here

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