Hauliers entering south's ports to be tested for Covid from April 6th

The measures will be brought in fro April 6th Credit: PA

The Government is to implement a mass testing regime for lorry drivers arriving in the UK just days after the Prime Minister flagged tougher measures to prevent Covid-19 variants being transmitted from Europe.

Transport Secretary Grant Schapps tweeted that the new measures would be brought in from April 6th:

Hauliers and border force officials who were previously exempted will have to take a customised test, though this will be done once they are in Britain rather than at the border to avoid delays that might lead to shortages in supermarkets.

Those staying longer than two days will have to have a test within 48 of arriving and then every 72 hours, with fines similar to the £2,000 penalties for travellers who fail to test during home quarantine.

Thrice weekly tests will be mandatory for Border Force staff engaged in cross Channel work and similar arrangements for those working on trains and ferries in the area.

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.”

Flagging concerns that Covid variants are reaching the UK from western Europe and the US, Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “These dire warnings about new variants coming to the UK show why the UK Government’s reckless approach to border security against Covid is so dangerous.

“Labour has long called for a comprehensive hotel quarantine system. Instead, the current system means around just 1% of thousands of daily arrivals quarantine in hotels.”