Covid tests for lorry drivers entering UK

London, UK: From April 6, lorries visiting England from outside the UK (and the Common Travel Area) for more than two days will need to take a Covid test within 48 hours and one every 72 hours after that.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the move was to “ensure we keep track of any future coronavirus variants of concern”.

Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association, said: “Given that testing infrastructure exists and works well now in the UK and there isn’t extra pressure on the supply chain or facilities, the RHA believes this will work.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, argued that the instruction for tests should have been introduced earlier: “April 6 is nearly two weeks after I raised it with the Prime Minister and he resisted. It is nearly two months after concerns were first raised on the South African variant spread in France and over three months since testing was introduced for hauliers leaving the UK.”

Sarah Laouadi, European policy manager, Logistics UK said: “It is vitally important to protect the UK and it’s highly interconnected supply chain from the threat of new Covid19 variants, and the nation as a whole. Rapid testing of drivers on arrival in the UK will provide additional confidence that businesses can be supplied safely.

“However, it is worth remembering that drivers are, by the nature of their jobs and thanks to contactless delivery procedures, a very low risk category – as has been borne out by the testing carried out on drivers since the start of the pandemic where only 0.1% of them have tested positive for Covid-19.

Any testing regime must be proportionate and not discriminate against those who are tasked with keeping British businesses and consumers stocked with the goods and services they need. We would urge the government to maintain a watching brief on the testing regime to ensure it remains appropriate and reacts to the situation on the ground.”

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