UPDATE: Poland sends 60 army medics to help test truck drivers in UK

Poland on Friday sent a team of 60 military medics to Britain to help administer COVID-19 tests to truck drivers stuck in the port of Dover, officials announced.

Vehicles make their way through the port of Dover in southern England on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2020.

Vehicles make their way through the port of Dover in southern England on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2020.Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN

The group is expected to replace a previous Polish team of more than 30 healthcare professionals deployed to the UK on Christmas Eve, state news agency PAP reported.

Several thousand Polish truck drivers were left stranded in the British port after France closed its border on Monday due to a new, highly contagious coronavirus strain detected in parts of the UK.

France reopened the border later in the week, but only to drivers testing negative for COVID-19.

Authorities in Britain said that all drivers would be tested as soon as possible, but it would take time to roll out the tests to some of the 8,000-10,000 truckers stranded in the area, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.

The Polish prime minister’s top aide, Michał Dworczyk, said in a Twitter post on Friday that the previous, 37-strong, Polish team, including healthcare professionals from a Warsaw hospital run by the interior ministry, performed a total of 1,260 tests in Dover from Thursday night to Friday morning.

„You are great! Thank you!,” Dworczyk tweeted. „Now the British will be able to allow new trucks to arrive in Dover, while our medics will be heading back home, and at around 3 p.m. a second shift will arrive–this time medical personnel deployed by the Polish Army!”

The Polish foreign ministry said on Twitter: „Thanks to hard work overnight by Polish and British medics as well as the Polish consular service in the UK, truck traffic in the UK port of Dover has been restored and was running smoothly this morning. Bravo!”

Dworczyk said on Thursday that Poland decided to send its medical professionals to Britain because it could not leave its citizens „without support in such a situation.”

(gs)

Source: PAP

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