The British government is working with France to unblock the border “as fast as possible,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday afternoon.
Johnson said he had just had a “very good call” with French President Emmanuel Macron, and that both leaders “want to resolve these problems as fast as possible” so that lorries can travel in both directions.
The Prime Minister said the UK fully understands other countries’ anxieties about the new variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, but stressed that “the risks of transmission by a solitary driver sitting alone in the cab are really very low.”
He also emphasised that “the vast majority of food, medicines and other supplies are coming and going as normal,” as the travel ban only affects human-handled freight, which accounts for just 20 percent of the total arriving from or departing to the European continent.
He said “everyone can continue to shop normally,” as British supermarkets had said their supply chains are “strong and robust.”
Johnson said the UK government had been well prepared for the border closure, because it had been preparing for years for possible post-Brexit travel disruptions in southeast England.
The UK had acted decisively to curb the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, he said. “We lodged all the necessary information with the World Health Organisation, and we took prompt and decisive action the very next day to curb the spread of the variant within the UK.”
He added that “half a million people in the UK have now received their first dose” of the COVID-19 vaccine.