News

COVID: Forces Continue Testing Lorry Drivers Waiting To Travel From Kent To France

More than 33,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out on lorry drivers since 23 December.

Around 1,100 military personnel remain deployed in Kent, assisting with the delivery of rapid COVID-19 tests for stranded hauliers.  

More than 33,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out on lorry drivers waiting to cross the English Channel to France since 23 December, according to the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Personnel from 36 Engineer Regiment, the Royal Welsh, the Irish Guards and the Welsh Guards have been conducting the tests.

The testing process was brought inafter the French government imposed a travel ban to reduce the transmission of a more infectious coronavirus strain spreading in the UK.

France lifted the ban on 23 December,on condition that those arriving from the UK must have received a negative coronavirus test taken less than 72 hours before their journey.

An RAF Puma departs Manston Airfield with COVID tests, to support British soldiers testing lorry drivers (Picture: MOD).

Personnel have worked more than 32,000 hours and helped move over half a million tonnes of freight.

Christmas Day saw an extra 800 British personnel join an existing 300 supporting the efforts.

The MOD said the troops are also helping to deliver vital supplies such as food and water to the drivers.

Much of the backlog has been cleared, though tests must still be carried out for those drivers joining the queue.

On Boxing Day, the Department for Transport announced that HGV drivers should still avoid travelling to Kent, despite eased congestion.

Cover image: British Army Royal Engineers deliver COVID tests to lorry drivers on the M20 in Kent (Picture: MOD).