Boris Johnson to hold press conference amid travel shutdown as Covid variant spreads


oris Johnson is set to host a press conference on Monday afternoon amid Dover chaos and the new virus strain gripping the south east.  

The Prime Minister will front the conference from Downing Street after a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee. 

Cobra is set to discuss the spread of the new coronavirus variant and the response of countries in banning travel from the UK.  The press conference will follow although the timing is being finalised, it is not expected to take place before 5pm. 

It comes after the French government banned on trucks entering from Britain over concerns about the highly transmissible new strain.

Countries including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and Bulgaria also announced restrictions on UK travel following the disclosure that the highly infectious new strain is widespread across south-east England.

The French government  looked set to end the ban on trucks entering from Britain with transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari saying: “In the next few hours, at European level, we’re going to establish a solid health protocol to ensure that movement from the UK can resume.”

Downing Street said the UK Government was in contact with the French authorities about the ban on lorries crossing the channel.

Asked whether Boris Johnson believed the French action was justified, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are obviously working incredibly closely with our international partners and are working urgently to minimise the disruption as far as possible.”

The spokesman added that “we are in close contact with the French to try and get this resolved”.

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