Dover has warned that chaos could descend on the port this summer as foreign travel restrictions continue to ease for Britons. Yesterday, the Government confirmed that double-jabbed British tourists will be allowed to travel to amber list countries without needing to self-isolate on return.
Thousands, if not millions, of Britons are expected to travel abroad this summer after it was announced that fully vaccinated people living in England will be able to travel quarantine free.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed yesterday, July 8, that English residents will be able to visit amber list countries more easily and not have to self-isolate on their return to the UK.
Most European countries, including France, Portugal, and Spain, are on the amber list.
This means it is very likely that many Britons will travel through the Port of Dover to get to the continent.
But now that the Government has scrapped a travel quarantine requirement for double-vaccinated Britons, it is likely there will be an increase in the number of vehicles travelling to the continent over the coming weeks.
Doug Bannister, CEO of the Port of Dover, said the port had managed to switch to the new full customs checks well so far, ever since Britain left the trade bloc at the end of last year.
He told Reuters: “That’s because we haven’t seen the demand for tourists coming from our facilities, as we would normally expect to see.”
“It’s at those points in time when the pressure on the total system increases.”
Before the pandemic, in 2019, around 2.4 million trucks passed through Dover, as well as 2 million cars and 74,000 coaches.
If the number of vehicles descending on the port will quickly increase, Mr Bannister said “there will be longer transaction times and more processing”.
The food supply industry is already struggling with trade due to Brexit, with many deliveries to British shops being delayed or missed because of a lack of workers.
Many lorry drivers who were EU citizens have returned to their home countries because of both Brexit and the pandemic.
In his announcement to the Commons yesterday, Grant Shapps explained the latest easing of travel restrictions in more detail.
He said: “I can confirm today that from the July 19, UK residents who are fully vaccinated through the UK vaccine rollout will no longer have to self-isolate when they return to England.
“They’ll still be required to take a test three days before returning, the pre-departure test, demonstrating they’re negative before they travel, and a PCR test on or before day two, but they will no longer be required to take a day eight test.
“In essence, this means that for fully vaccinated travellers the requirements for green and amber list countries are the same.
“To be clear, a full vaccination means 14 days have passed since your final dose of the vaccine, and it’s also important to note that health matters are devolved, so decision-making and implementation may differ across the UK administrations and we’ll continue to work with the devolved administrations to ensure we achieve our shared objectives of safe, sustainable and robust return to international travel.”