UK’s late-night executive meeting turns into clash over call for travel ban

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with his ministers Monday amid chaos over travel bans enacted by dozens of countries barring travelers from the United Kingdom because of a new strain of the coronavirus discovered in England. 

Johnson called a meeting with the Cobra emergency committee — senior government ministers — to discuss the flow of freight in and out of Britain after several European countries closed their doors the British. France said it was barring all people from the United Kingdom for 48 hours beginning Sunday, including freight carriers by road and sea.

Johnson spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron over the ban, which caused a dire situation around a key port in Dover. The move left the 6,000 trucks that cross from England to France each day on ferries from Dover or on trains through the Eurotunnel stuck, for now, in England.

A stretch of highway to Dover in southeast England turned into a de facto parking lot for cargo trucks.

“These delays only apply to a very small percentage of food entering the U.K.,” the prime minister said during a press conference.

He added that he wanted to sort out the problem “in the next few hours”.


The ban comes days before the U.K. is expected to formally leave the European Union.  The break will mean new customs inspections and paperwork — and even worse disruption if the two sides don’t have a new trade agreement in place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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