Brits were greeted with an illuminated “France borders closed” sign as they arrived at the Port of Dover this morning as roads out of the UK were blocked.
The French have cut ties with England in the wake of fresh coronavirus mutation concerns by banning UK arrivals.
Lorry movements have been halted after a highly-infections new strain of Covid-19 was found spreading across Blighty.
The Port of Dover has now been closed to all traffic leaving the UK for the next two days, The Port of Dover said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said late last night: “Following the French Government's announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48hrs, we're asking the public & particularly hauliers not to travel to Kent ports or other routes to France.
“My department is urgently working with Highways England and Kent Council on contingency measures to minimise traffic disruption in the area.”
Border restrictions in France mean the key trade route into the UK through Kent has now been closed.
Usually around 10,000 lorries pile though the port every day – but from midnight all traffic to France from the UK was suspended.
And Kent Police has put Operation Slack into place on the M20 to queue lorries caught up in the disruption, only days before Christmas.
Extra police deployed at train stations to stop non-essential travel out of Tier 4
Boris Johnson will hold an emergency Cobra meeting later today to deal with the resulting fall-out of the two-day blockade.
France’s decision to block lorries from the UK is feared to have a “devastating” effect on food supplies in Britain.
Industry experts have said the road closures could lead to stockpiling as the UK lingers on the edge of a no-deal Brexit.
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Rory McKenzie, policy director at the Road Haulage Association, told The Guardian: “It’s only 48 hours, but the French ban will have a devastating effect on the supply chain.
“We have seen in recent days the queues on both sides of the channel because of Brexit stockpiling and the Christmas rush and now border closures will mean everything including perishable food supplies will be impacted.”
It comes after hundreds of Brits were pictured stranded at Heathrow Airports as travel bans were enforced on the UK.
Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium have all halted flights over the new coronavirus variant, with other nations expected to follow suit.
The new strain of Covid-19 has spread quickly in London and the south east of England as Health Secretary Matt Hancock described it as "out of control".
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