LONDON (Reuters) – Britain might have to toughen restrictions on arrivals from France, including hauliers, to defend against new variants of the COVID-19 virus spreading from the rest of Europe where the situation was difficult, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Britain has banned foreign travel until at least May 17, except for essential work, education or health reasons. Ministers are due to review that position in April.
“Things are looking difficult on the continent,” Johnson told lawmakers. “This is an issue about trying to keep out these variants.”
Asked whether France should be put on the red list, which is a category of countries from which most travel to Britain is banned, Johnson told a parliamentary committee that testing hauliers would have an impact on trade flows.
“I think we now, in all seriousness, need to look at the situation at the Channel. I’m afraid we can’t rule out tougher measures and we will put them in if necessary,” Johnson said.
“We will take a decision, no matter how tough, to interrupt that trade, to interrupt those flows, if we think that it is necessary to protect public health and to stop new variants coming in, and it may be that we have to do that very soon.”
(Reporting by Kate Holton and Guy Faulconbridge, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by William James)