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Britain in grave concern over new COVID-19 strain; shortages even for Christmas dishes

DUBLIN: The mutated new virus emerges as the UK struggles to overcome the Brexit-related crisis at the end of the transition period. Britain has not yet reached an agreement with the EU on post-Brexit trade. With the announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself that the spread of a new variant of coronavirus is out of control, all the neighbouring countries have begun to think about the importance of their safety. As part of that, all air-train services were stopped. Many countries have closed their borders.

Some countries have also announced quarantine for those arriving from the UK. Britain’s position worsened as all the neighbouring countries enforced strict restrictions. With France blocking freight traffic to Britain, even food shortages are on the rise.

Sainsbury’s warns that border issues could lead to food shortages in UK supermarkets. The supermarket said France’s ban on freight hauliers from the UK could affect food supplies. But Sainsbury’s assured customers that Christmas dinner supplies are available. UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the freight ban was a bit surprising. Thousands of lorries intended to cross the English Channel yesterday could not reach Kent ports following the ban.

“All products for the Great British Christmas lunch are already in the country and we have plenty of these. If nothing changes, we will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit – all of which are imported from the Continent at this time of year,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said.

About 20% of goods going in and out of the country pass through Kent, according to Grant Shops. Peter Denby, managing director of Lincoln-based haulage firm Denby Transport, said the ban would affect deliveries ahead of the Brexit transition period. In 2019, more than 12,35,000 vehicles left the UK via the port of Kent, according to the UK Government statistics.

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