Lorry drivers will be tested for Covid-19 before entering the UK amid surge in cases across Europe
Lorry drivers arriving in England from outside the UK will be required to take a Covid-19 test within 48 hours of arrival, the transport secretary has announced.
Grant Shapps said that from April 6 hauliers, including drivers and crew of heavy goods vehicles and vans, will need to be tested within 48 hours of arriving and then every three days.
Announcing the news on Twitter, Mr Shapps said that the tougher measures would “ensure we keep track of any future coronavirus variants of concern.”
He tweeted: “HAULIER NEWS: From April 6, lorries visiting England from outside UK (and the Common Travel Area) for more than 2 days will need to take a Covid test within 48hrs + one every 72hrs after. This is to ensure we keep track of any future Coronavirus Variants of Concern.”
The “bespoke testing regime” will protect the UK from the virus spread and new variants entering, the Department of Health and Social Care said. According to the new government guidelines, tests will be available through several routes including workplace testing programmes, at-home tests, community sites, online ordering or by dialling 119.
Hauliers will also face a £2,000 fine if they do not have proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
Those travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man – known as the Common Travel Area (CTA) – are not required to be tested unless they have been outside those areas in the 10 days before arriving in England.
Hauliers arriving in England from continental Europe will also be expected to complete passenger locator forms to facilitate contact while in the UK.
It comes amid growing concern over the spread of South African and Brazilian variants of coronavirus in Europe as a third wave of Covid-19 sweeps across the continent.