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Thosuands of stranded lorry drivers at Christmas

Thousands of lorry drivers will spend Christmas Day stranded at the English Channel border, with some likely to have spent five nights in their vehicles.

A chorus of beeping horns sounded at the Port of Dover on Christmas Eve as those at the front of the queue celebrated finally being able to leave – but many more are expected to be stuck there until at least Boxing Day.

Lorries parked on the M20 near Folkestone, Kent, as part of Operation Stack after the Port of Dover was closed (Image: PA)

As of 3.30pm on Thursday, the port said 700 lorries had been cleared for departure since reopening on Wednesday, leaving more than 5,000 still queueing.

Because of the more transmissible coronavirus variant in the UK, French authorities said hauliers must return a negative result from a test carried out within the past 72 hours before being allowed to leave.

Some 2,367 drivers had returned negative coronavirus tests by Thursday afternoon, while three tested positive, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

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