Trucks Wait in Kent on Christmas Eve as Officials Work to Clear Border-Closure Backlog

Thousands of trucks were waiting in Kent, England, on Thursday, December 24, as officials worked to test drivers after France closed its border to the United Kingdom over a new reported strain of the coronavirus.

Many drivers have been stuck in England since Sunday, when the border with France was closed. As of Thursday, some 4,000 trucks were parked at Manston Airport in Kent and 2,300 others stopped along the M20 as of Christmas Eve, according to reports.

The French government agreed to ease its travel ban on Wednesday, allowing drivers who have tested negative for the coronavirus to enter. UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said 2,367 tests were given as of midday on Christmas Eve, with only three coming back positive.

Shapps said on Thursday that a number of crossing points at the UK-France border — including the Eurotunnel, Port of Dover, and Port of Calais — will remain open through Christmas to help “citizens return home as soon as possible.” Shapps said the UK Army will assist with the logistics of coronavirus testing and clearing the traffic.

Stuart Crees said he filmed this footage of trucks stopped along the A299 near Manston Airport on Thursday.

Shapps urged drivers to avoid Kent while officials work to clear the traffic. Credit: Stuart Crees via Storyful