Freight from Britain and passengers with a negative virus test began arriving on French shores Wednesday, after France relaxed a two-day blockade over a new virus variant that had isolated Britain, stranded thousands of drivers and raised fears of shortages.
Associated Press reporters witnessed a ferry pulling into the French port of Calais before dawn and trains carrying freight and car passengers were allowed to cross to the continent beneath the English Channel again.
People arriving from Britain are required to have a virus test capable of detecting the new variant, according to a late-night agreement reached after 48 hours of frenzied negotiations among French, British and EU authorities. European nations and others around the world began slamming borders shut to Britain on Sunday, a day after the UK prime minister announced that the new variant was mostly responsible for an enormous surge in new infections in London and southern England and he was imposing tight new lockdown restrictions.
AstraZeneca told Reuters on Tuesday its vaccine should be effective against the new coronavirus variant, adding that studies were under way to fully probe the impact of the mutation.
“AZD1222 contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein, and the changes to the genetic code seen in this new viral strain do not appear to change the structure of the spike protein,” the firm said.