shutterstock_1849690891 (1)

The UK government must make immediate preparations to prevent severe disruption to the flow of goods into the UK in the event of the new mink-related Covid-19 strain originating in Denmark spreading into France, Belgium or Germany, the RHA warned this week.The warning follows new rules laid out over the weekend for HGV drivers who have recently travelled through Denmark.

British HGV drivers who have travelled through Denmark in the last fortnight will have to self-isolate for 14 days along with their households.

Freight drivers who are not UK citizens and have travelled through Denmark in the last fortnight will be turned away from the British border.

The new rules are in response to the rise in a new strain of the virus in Denmark that has spread from mink to humans.

The new regulations for hauliers returning from Denmark began at 4am on Sunday (8 November 2020) and follow a ban on all non-UK citizens coming to the UK from Denmark.

Any UK citizens who have travelled to Denmark must isolate for 14 days, along with their household.

Passenger planes and ships carrying freight as well as passengers from Denmark will also not be allowed to dock at English ports.

The DfT said the latest rules follow the release of "further information" from health officials in Denmark, where 12 people have been found to have mink-related mutations of the virus, most of them connected to farms in the North Jutland region.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday (8 November 2020) foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: “I wouldn't describe it as draconian taking a precautionary measure that if and when we come up with a vaccine it can't be sidestepped by a mutation in the virus that the Danes have found through their mink population.

"I think that's a common sense measure that the public would expect us to take."

RHA national policy director Duncan Buchanan told “We have alerted our members to this issue but what is very important is in the next seven days the government makes contingency plans in case this spreads to France or Germany or Belgium where the interruption to major flows of goods would be difficult to get round. We need to understand what the circumstances are and how we will deal with it.”

Buchanan said the RHA has also asked for clarification on the movement of HGV drivers from the Republic of Ireland into the UK, who may have travelled to Denmark in the past fortnight.

In a statement responding to the new restrictions, Logistics UK said: “In order to ensure the integrity of the UK’s supply chain, it is vital that our HGV drivers can operate safely, and our members will ensure that their drivers follow all government advice and isolate for 14 days if they are arriving from Denmark.

“At the same time, logistics is an agile industry and importers can switch between transport modes to ensure that products still arrive at the end customer.

“In any case much of the ferry transport between the UK and Denmark is sent in unaccompanied trailers, so drivers simply collect their loads from ports, with no need to travel across the border.

“The industry will continue to maintain high levels of vigilance and follow all necessary health protocols to protect the UK.”