Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency response meeting on Monday to discuss international travel, in particular the flow of freight in and out of Britain, a spokeswoman for his office said on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, several European countries began closing their doors to travellers from Britain after the country tightened COVID restrictions in London and southern England to try to curb the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus.
France said it would bar all people coming from the UK for 48 hours from Sunday night, including freight carriers, whether by road, air, sea or rail. Britain’s port of Dover said its ferry terminal was closed.
“The prime minister will chair a COBR (emergency response) meeting tomorrow to discuss the situation regarding international travel, in particular the steady flow of freight into and out of the UK. Further meetings are happening this evening and tomorrow morning to ensure robust plans are in place,” the spokeswoman said.
Transport minister Grant Shapps urged Britons, especially hauliers, not to travel to ports in Kent in southern England, warning on Twitter that “we expect significant disruption in the area”.
The travel restrictions come at a difficult time for many British companies, which are engaged in last-minute stockpiling before Dec. 31, when a status quo transition period with the European Union ends and new customs rules come into effect.
Doug Bannister, chief executive at the port of Dover, told Reuters earlier this month that Europe’s biggest trucking port was already seeing almost record volumes of trade.
nies and industry groups had been lobbying to get their U.S. workers in line to receive the vaccines immediately after healthcare professionals and long-term care facility residents.
Meanwhile, trucks of FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service Inc started picking up the doses from warehouses for deliveries to hospitals and other sites.
Vials of Moderna’s vaccine were filled in pharmaceutical services provider Catalent Inc’s facility in Bloomington, Indiana. Distributor McKesson Corp is shipping doses from facilities in places including Louisville, Kentucky, and Memphis, Tennessee – close to air hubs for UPS and FedEx.
Both FedEx and UPS said the shipments were running smoothly and everything was going exactly as planned.
Separately, U.S. health officials are monitoring the new strain of COVID-19 emerging in the United Kingdom, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday, adding that any mutation shows people must keep protecting themselves from the novel coronavirus while awaiting vaccination.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists announced on Saturday that the new virus strain had led to spiraling infection numbers, tightening the COVID-19 restrictions for London and nearby areas and disrupting the Christmas holiday plans of millions of people.
The variant, which officials say is up to 70% more transmissible than the original, has prompted concerns about a wider spread. Several European countries, including Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, said they were taking measures to prevent people arriving from Britain, including bans on flights and trains.
The distribution of Moderna’s vaccine to more than 3,700 locations in the United States will vastly widen the rollout started last week by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE.
U.S. COVID-19 vaccine program head Moncef Slaoui said it was most likely the first Moderna vaccine shot, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, would be given on Monday morning.
“We look forward to the vaccine. It’s going to be slightly easier to distribute because it doesn’t require as low (a) temperature as Pfizer,” Slaoui said on CNN.
The U.S. government plans to deliver 5.9 million Moderna shots and 2 million Pfizer shots this week.
Data from CDC shows 2.84 million doses have been distributed and 556,208 shots administered thus far.
The start of delivery for the Moderna vaccine will significantly widen availability of COVID-19 vaccines as U.S. deaths caused by the respiratory disease have reached more than 316,000 in the 11 months since the first documented U.S. cases. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
Some states are choosing to use Moderna’s shots for harder-to-reach rural areas because they can be stored for 30 days in standard-temperature refrigerators. Pfizer’s must be shipped and stored at minus 70 Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit) and can be held for only five days at standard refrigerator temperatures.
Initial doses were given to health professionals. Programs by pharmacies Walgreens and CVS to distribute the Pfizer vaccine to long-term care facilities are expected to start on Monday.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)