UK confronts threat of food crisis as coronavirus surge blocks trade

By Administration _ India

Capital Sands

The UK confronted threats of food insecurity and panicked shopping days before Christmas as European nations restricted trade and travel to guard against a resurgent coronavirus, offering Britain a preview of the border chaos to come in the absence of a Brexit deal.

Fearing a fast-spreading new strain of the virus that forced a strict lockdown across England, France on Sunday suspended travel from the UK for 48 hours and Germany halted arriving flights from Britain. The crisis gave renewed urgency to negotiations for a trade deal with the European Union that remained at a critical stage after weekend talks. The French government will want a stricter testing regime before lifting the blockade.

Late on Sunday, the Port of Dover halted freight moved by truck into France while allowing unaccompanied cargo to keep moving. Though traffic into the UK is unaffected, truckers often run supplies in both directions and the latest outbreak in the heart of the country may discourage them from entering the island.

The disruptions are exposing Britain’s trade vulnerabilities just as a 4 1/2-year odyssey to leave the EU moves from political rhetoric to economic reality.

Business groups facing catastrophic losses urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to act soon, with the 18,000-member Logistics UK calling for rapid Covid-19 testing of truckers departing the country as the quickest way of protecting supply chains.

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