"I haven't showered in five days" and "I'm driving my pregnant wife home" are just some of the remarks made by the more than ten thousand lorry drivers who are still being tested at Dover. The Polish army has sent its own doctors to the scene to accelerate the process.
We are past Christmas Eve and there are still thousands of lorry drivers waiting in their cabs to cross the UK border. Testing is painstakingly slow and is unlikely to finish before New Year's Eve.
EARLIER: Stranded truck drivers spelled “HELP” with traffic cones in Dover.⁰— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) December 25, 2020
Thousands of truckers were stuck in logjams around Britain's Port of Dover on #Christmas Eve, separated from families, despite some progress moving traffic. More: https://t.co/4UBHs42lWx pic.twitter.com/1fjhLhSlH6
"I'm sitting in a bus with my pregnant wife", one man told SVT in Dover, adding that roadside conditions are awful and he hadn't showered in fiver days. According to news reports, the number of drivers caught up in the queueing has increased in recent days, with some ten thousand lorries and truckers waiting to be tested before they are allowed to cross the border. As authorities in the UK have limited capacities, they are expecting international assistance.
Poland has sent its own doctors to the scene to ensure that Polish truckers could be back home as soon as possible. The Polish plane landed at Gatwick on Thursday and medical workers were transported to Dover by embassy staffers. According to preliminary estimates, they had plans to test some five thousand people a day.
Tak wyglądało przeprowadzanie testów w nocy z 24/25.12. Medycy wracają już do kraju. pic.twitter.com/4hJQOTh1Wo— CSK MSWiA (@CSK_MSWiA) December 25, 2020
On Friday the Polish military deployed an additional 60 medical dctors to replace a team of 37 doctors, as well as nurses and ambulance personnel, who have been working since Thursday. They carried out 1 260 tests during the evening.
In a recent tweet, Defence Minister Mariusz Balczak stressed that the medical doctors in charge of administering the Covid testst will also provide food and drinking water to those who need to be tested.
Żołnierze wylecieli już do Wielkiej Brytanii. Bedą pomagać polskim kierowcom ciężarówek, którzy utknęli na granicy. Wojskowi będą przeprowadzać testy na obecność #koronawirus wśród kierowców, a także dostarczą im żywność i napoje. pic.twitter.com/3tN8EQHo3h— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) December 25, 2020
The disruption was caused by the French government's decision to block arrivals of UK passengers for 48 hours over concerns of a new coronavirus variant. As a result, thousands of lorry drivers got stranded on the UK side at Dover.