No lorries stay stranded at Manston airfield following a monumental effort to get drivers residence to their households.
Emergency groups – supported by greater than 1,000 navy personnel – have been working across the clock, finishing up virtually 16,000 assessments on truckers caught on the website, on the M20 and on the Port of Dover.
A caveat of entry is now a adverse coronavirus take a look at, resulting in an enormous operation to swab all drivers hoping to cross The Channel.
On Christmas Eve greater than 3,000 lorries remained caught at Manston, however as of noon in the present day the location had been cleared.
There are nonetheless 1,600 caught in Operation Brock, however greater than 8,000 HGVs have crossed the border by way of Eurotunnel or the Port of Dover since December 23.
Of 15,526 drivers examined, 36 have returned constructive outcomes.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “Manston now empty and lorries ought to now not head there please.
“A large THANK YOU to everybody who’s labored tirelessly over the previous few days to scale back the massive disruption attributable to the sudden French border closure.: Police, navy, planners, councils, charities, border employees – all have rallied to convey foods and drinks to stranded hauliers.”
Ferry operator DFDS says it carried 1,846 lorries to France on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
A spokesman stated: “On Christmas Eve DFDS ran additional sailings from Dover- the final crusing to Calais ought to have been at 12 midday, however they continued into the night – and was capable of ship 618 freight models on its routes to Calais and Dunkirk.
“The corporate ran return sailings to each Calais and Dunkirk on Christmas Day for the primary time ever. In complete, it shipped 1,228 freight models yesterday on the 2 routes.
“It has deliberate sufficient capability on each days to ship greater than 2,000 models every day, however ongoing logistical points with getting freight to the port meant that site visitors was reaching the ships a bit slower than they might have appreciated.
“So throughout the 2 days 1,846 lorries had been carried by DFDS. We perceive that a lot of the backlog at Manston has now been cleared and in addition a few of these stacked on the M20. Sailings have continued in the present day.
“The corporate would additionally like to precise its honest because of all workers who gave up their precious break day on Christmas Day to assist the efforts to repatriate the drivers who had been caught in Kent. Everybody stepped as much as the extraordinary circumstances and it was a implausible group effort to assist get folks residence.”
The operation to check all drivers for Covid-19 has been considered one of epic proportions.
Yesterday, an additional 800 navy personnel had been drafted in to assist at Manston – becoming a member of 300 already on the website.
They had been joined by 30 French firefighters and 60 Polish troopers.
These testing adverse are allowed to journey to France, whereas anybody returning a constructive end result should endure a PCR take a look at. If that too is constructive they must isolate at native motels.
Drivers but to be examined are being supplied with meals, water and bogs, however say there aren’t any bathe amenities.
Attela Kaliman and Robert Henstencz talk about life at Manston
Volunteers have additionally been passing meals over Manston’s boundary fence.
In Ashford, residents responded to a plea on Facebook from a German driver who desperately wished a bathe by organising for truckers to make use of a close-by Vacation Inn.
That is along with the 4,000-capacity – revised down to three,800 to permit for testing – at Manston.
On Tuesday morning scuffles broke out at Dover between police and annoyed drivers who, having been stranded on the port for days, had been seeing different lorries coming from Manston and getting into.
These in Dover had been being tested in their vehicles from about 4pm in an try to clear the gridlock – though drivers are nonetheless being informed to move to Manston, with others being diverted to a centre on Sheppey.
The primary few vehicles and lorries had been seen heading for a ferry after receiving a adverse Covid take a look at at about 6pm. There have been experiences this appeared to cease at round 9pm and that pressure was beginning to flare once more.
There have been additionally stand-offs at Manston as drivers tried to depart and others enter. Later in the day an army of people arrived to get food and drink to the drivers.
Graham Pask, from the Street Haulage Affiliation, referred to as the state of affairs a “humanitarian disaster” and in contrast the French authorities to a “dictatorship” “holding lorry drivers hostage”.
Talks between the French and the UK governments got here to an finish on Tuesday night and the ban was lifted that night.
All drivers, regardless of nationality, require a lateral move take a look at. This will detect the brand new pressure of Covid-19 and supply ends in round 30 minutes, quite than the 24 hours required after a PCR take a look at.
The French authorities may also perform pattern testing on incoming freight to the UK.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps stated after the deal was made with the French: “I’m happy that now we have made this essential progress with our French counterparts this night. This protocol will see the French border reopen to these travelling for pressing causes, offered they’ve an authorized adverse Covid take a look at.
“We proceed to induce hauliers to not journey to Kent till additional discover as we work to alleviate congestion.”
Guidelines for drivers might be quickly relaxed to permit them to get via shortly.