DHL has today suspended road services into the UK – threatening Christmas deliveries amid the travel ban chaos.
The courier service giant has hundreds of festive parcels to deliver, but has been hit by the disruption caused by a new strain of Covid.
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The variant has cancelled UK Christmases and seen EU countries ban travel.
It led to chaos overnight after the blockade came in at 11pm, before the French government confirmed it was working towards a solution.
And now countries including Germany and Italy have stopped flights and other arrivals from Britain.
DHL will still be able to bring in parcels and letters to the UK via cargo flights, but the suspension of road services is likely to have a considerable knock on effect.
A DHL statement said of the travel ban: “This has an immediate impact on our road services (DDI) between both the UK & the Republic of Ireland, and all other continental destinations.
“Although technically trucks can still enter the UK from mainland Europe, vehicles will be unable to return from the UK thereafter.”
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Supermarkets feared major shortages of food and Christmas goods after France closed its UK border – with chaos set to continue today even if its lifted.
Around 10,000 lorries travel into the country via Dover every day, bringing in 20 per cent of all goods bought and sold in the UK.
Sainsbury’s warned some products could be missing from shelves due to restrictions at ports, but said food for a traditional Christmas lunch is available and already in the country.
Despite the rain, queues were seen outside one Waitrose store in Henleaze, near Bristol, in the early hours of today.
And another Brit shared a snap of him waiting with other shoppers at 5.50am to get toilet paper.
Officials in Dover confirmed inbound freight is still coming into the country, despite the huge queues and disruption reported.
Mr Macron said today France “will most probably ask” for negative Covid tests to be shown by drivers before they can enter France from the UK.
An industry source said: “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse — disaster on top of disaster. I fear for supermarket supply chains.
“It’s the panic buying we are most worried about. The chains have held up all year but only if people are sensible.”
It is feared the EU could ban all flights into the UK from tonight over the new strain which is causing havoc in the country.
The new mutant strain causing the sudden ban is feared to be 70 per cent more infectious.
However, Mr Shapps said the new strain is not unique to the UK, adding: “We detected that first but we know already that the cases have been found in continental Europe and other countries, including countries which have placed travel bans – the Netherlands, for example – actually have much higher case rates per 100,000 than the UK at the moment.
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“So I think it stands to reason that, once people look at this, they’ll probably realise that it’s actually already in their domestic coronavirus case load.”
The Welsh Government has requested “urgent” talks with the UK Government after ferry passengers in Wales were banned from entering the Republic of Ireland.
Ireland is allowing freight and essential travel from ports in North Wales and West Wales, but has said other visitors will not be granted entry.
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