Port of Dover: 36 Polish medics supported British during night COVID19 testing of stranded truck drivers .Release from Polish Embassy 12.55 Christmas Day
On Thursday night, more than 30 doctors, nurses, diagnosticians and paramedics were deployed from Poland to help British services to test track drivers stranded at the port of Dover.
The aim was to test as many drivers as possible in the shortest possible time and unblock entrances to the port. Among the drivers stuck on the British-French border for Christmas, Poles constitute a large group.
The backlogs of lorries are the result of the French government’s decision made last Sunday to close the border for arrivals from the UK for 48 hours in response to the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus in south-east England. The border was opened on Wednesday, but only for those with a negative coronavirus test result.
The medics used rapid antigen tests, 15,000 of which were flown to Britain on the same plane with the Polish medical service. From Thursday night into Friday morning, in just a few hours, they tested a total number of 1,260 drivers. Thanks to the hard, all-night work of the British and Polish medics, the traffic in the port of Dover has resumed and is going more smoothly as of Friday morning.
The Polish Ambassador to the UK, Arkady Rzegocki, wrote on Twitter earlier today: “I would like to especially thank all Polish, British and French medical staff for their overnight hard work and effort of testing thousands of lorry drivers stranded in the Port of Dover to get them home to their loved ones.”
Today, military personnel from the Polish Territorial Defense Forces will arrive in the UK not only to support testing, but also to assist with food distribution. Polish soldiers are on their way to Britain and are expected to land at the Gatwick Airport at around 3PM. Additionally, Polish consuls coordinate the support for the drivers organised by the Polish community in the UK.