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Hauliers arriving in England from outside the UK face stricter COVID rules

Suban Abdulla
·3-min read
A traffic marshall checks the documents of a freight lorry driver at Waterbrook Park facility in Ashford, south east England on January 15, 2021, as hauliers get used to life under the post-Brexit trade deal. - British companies are struggling with a large amount of red tape as a result of Brexit, with senior government minister Michael Gove recently admitting that there would be
A traffic marshall checks the documents of a freight lorry driver at Waterbrook Park facility in Ashford, south east England on January 15, 2021, as hauliers get used to life under the post-Brexit trade deal. - British companies are struggling with a large amount of red tape as a result of Brexit, with senior government minister Michael Gove recently admitting that there would be "significant disruption" at the border because of increased bureaucracy that is slowing the flow of freight. Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Hauliers arriving in England from outside the UK and Ireland for more than two days will need to take COVID-19 tests.

Lorry drivers will be required to take a test within the first 48 hours of arrival and then one every 72 hours thereafter under new government rules announced on Saturday.

UK's secretary for transport Grant Schapps tweeted that the new measures will come into force in from 6 April. Shapps said that this was to "ensure" that the UK "keeps track of any future coronavirus variants of concern."

Under the changes, hauliers and border force officials who were previously exempt will have to take a customised test. But, these will only be carried out once they are in Britain as opposed to at the border to avoid food and product delays that might lead to shortages.

Additionally, Border Force staff engaged in cross Channel work will be required to be tested three times a week, with similar arrangements for those working on trains and ferries in the area.

Those who fail to comply face similar fines to the £2,000 ($2,760) penalties for travellers who fail to test during self isolation.

It comes days after prime minister Boris Johnson suggested that the UK might to implements tougher measures to prevent COVID variants from being transmitted from the EU.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: “We are carefully monitoring the increase in cases in Europe and will keep all measures under review as we cautiously remove restrictions throughout our roadmap.”

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: 20 second COVID tests to launch in the UK and EU

The news follows regulators in Britain and the EU giving the green light to 20-second COVID rapid tests on Friday to help speed up testing capacity and aid the travel sector as economies reopen.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the registration of the fully-recyclable product, which is provided by London-based firm Histate.

The rapid test, known as Virolens, has been piloted at Heathrow Airport and uses swabs of the cheeks instead of through the nose and tonsils.

The company said it was hoping for a wider rollout over the coming months after trials indicated that the test had 98.1% sensitivity, meaning it returns few false negatives, and 99.7% specificity, meaning few false positives.

Histate added that the results were the “minimum baseline,” and that they could even be more accurate.

WATCH: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?