France allows a limited reopening of borders, but thousands of trucks are still stuck in the UK amid fears of a mutation of the Coronavirus

France on Tuesday Advertise A limited reopening, starting at midnight, of incoming traffic via the ferry, train and tunnel, but only to EU citizens and Britons living in the European Union – and only if they have tested negative for coronavirus from the past 72 hours.

France and Britain continued to bargain over when and how to resume the flow of trade.

Leader of Kent County Council in southeast England He told the BBC On Tuesday, 3,000 trucks were waiting to cross the English Channel. On Monday, British government officials claimed there were only 170.

Drivers sounded their horns in frustration, as some prepared for a third night’s sleep in taxis.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised his country that a new sovereign, free and volatile “global Britain” will rise after Brexit, in less than 9 days.

But with no free trade agreement signed between Britain and the European Union, and the freezing of ferries and the canal tunnel at the gateway to continental Europe, the British suddenly found themselves more isolated than ever.

Adding to loneliness, after saying it would be “inhuman” to cancel Christmas gatherings for friends and family, Johnson felt compelled to do so on Sunday, on the advice of his public health advisers, who see cases of coronavirus. Hike here.

There are now more than 18 million Britons in “Level 4” lockdown mode, with all supermarkets, bars, restaurants, gyms, hair salons, theaters and non-essential toy stores closed.

Anthony Fauci, America’s chief infectious disease official, told the BBC on Tuesday that he would not recommend a complete ban on arrivals from Britain, saying it “might be a bit overreaction.”

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The European Commission on Tuesday sought to promote a more coordinated approach after announcing various levels of restrictions randomly over the previous days.

It advised all 27 member states to end the ban on flights and trains from Britain and reopen shipping routes. The executive arm of the European Union said: “All non-essential travel to and from the UK should be discouraged,” but “the ban on flights and trains should be stopped given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions,” including delivery of the Coronavirus. Vaccines.

But several countries continued in the opposite direction on Tuesday. Hungary banned passenger aircraft from the United Kingdom until early February, while Germany and Ireland extended their entry restrictions.

The dispute over travel and trade came as scientists in Britain and around the world rushed to assess the impact of the new mutation of the Corona virus, which was first detected in England.

“We have no evidence that the vaccine has been compromised in any way by this new variant,” said Sharon Peacock, director of the British Association for Tracking of Virus Mutations, on Tuesday.

Judith Brewer, professor of virology at University College London, said that the observed rise in the spread of the variant strongly indicates that the new mutation is leading to increased transmission.

In the coming weeks, Brewer said, researchers will be able to see if a greater spread of the variant leads to more serious disease, an observation that may be captured by a spike in hospitalization and death. So far, she said, there is no evidence that the mutation is more deadly.

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The developer of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine said on Tuesday that his company’s vaccination is likely to be effective against the new variant identified in Britain, but a new version of his vaccine could be developed within six weeks if needed.

Chief Executive Ujur Shaheen told reporters at a press conference that whether the regulators were ready to quickly approve a slightly modified version of the vaccine that has been approved for distribution in the United States, Britain and the European Union. Press Conference.

But from a technical perspective, modifying a vaccine produced in partnership with Pfizer would be simply a matter of substituting one mutation for another while the ‘messenger’ molecule remains the same.

But he added that it would take about two weeks for scientists to run enough tests and collect enough data to confirm.

Shaheen said: “The probability of success of our vaccine is relatively high,” noting that 99 percent of the proteins in the new mutation are the same as those in other strains.

The French restrictions imposed Sunday night, with an initial 48-hour timeframe, did not ban incoming shipment to Britain, but flows in this direction have been severely hampered, as few companies appeared willing to take the risk of leaving their drivers stranded in the UK. And he is unable to return to Europe at Christmas.

As of Tuesday evening, it was not clear how quickly any arrangement could solve the truck buildup in Britain’s southern ports.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shaps said a decision will soon be made – but he has warned truck drivers to avoid ports.

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Good progress today and agreement with the French government on the border. We will provide an update on the carriers later this evening, but the carriers still should not travel to Kent this evening. chirp.

Coronavirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results could take days to arrive, which means there could still be significant disruptions in cross-border traffic if France insists on this method for truck drivers as well.

Sky News reported that rapid turnaround tests could be an alternative and that the British Army was ready to help conduct them.

In its statement on Tuesday, the European Commission hinted at such a solution, saying that “where a Member State requires, in the specific context of the situation between the European Union and the United Kingdom and in the coming days, rapid antigen tests for transport workers, this should not lead to transport disruptions. “.

I mentioned Nowak from Berlin. Contributed to this report by Quentin Ares in Brussels, Antonia Nuri Farzan of Washington, and Miriam Berger in Durham, North Carolina.

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