.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Rail, air and sea services between the UK and France resume this morning after the French government agreed to ease its travel ban over Covid fears.

French citizens, British nationals living in France and hauliers are among those now able to travel – if they have a recent negative test.

Soldiers joined NHS Test and Trace staff in Kent to carry out rapid “lateral flow” tests on lorry drivers.

Despite France and UK reaching an agreement, more than 50 other countries, including Italy, India and Pakistan, are continuing to block travellers from the UK.

Foreign governments acted after the UK government introduced strict tier four – “stay at home” – restrictions across large parts of southern and eastern England in response to .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link{color:#3F3F42;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{font-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{border-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;}@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em){.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited{border-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;}.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus{-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;}}a new variant of coronavirus.

Under the agreement between the UK and France, those travelling for urgent reasons, including hauliers, French citizens, and British citizens with French residency will be allowed into France.

But in order to travel, they will need to have received a negative test result less than 72 hours before departure.

The Netherlands announced it would allow UK arrivals again, as long as they have a recent negative result.

However, the decisions may come too late for some French and Dutch nationals living in the UK to secure tests in time to get home for Christmas.

The Channel is a vital trade route, with about 10,000 lorries a day travelling between Dover and Calais at Christmas, largely bringing in the freshest produce.

Supermarkets have been warning that the travel ban and subsequent delays at ports could see shortages of certain fresh foods, including lettuces and citrus fruits coming from the Continent.

Under the new agreement, “lateral flow” tests, which can detect the new variant and give a result in about 30 minutes, will be used rather than the so-called PCR tests which can take 24 hours to turn around.

Freight drivers will receive their test result by text, and that message gives them the right to cross the Channel.

But despite the easing of restrictions, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned hauliers against travelling to Kent until further notice to help alleviate congestion at its ports.

A further 36,804 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus and there were 691 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to Tuesday’s government figures.

It is the largest daily number of cases recorded yet, though it is thought the infection rate was higher during the first peak in spring when testing was much more limited.

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News – Covid-19: UK-France services return as travel ban eased