Britain’s Road Haulage Association (RHA) has urged shoppers not to panic buy after the French government closed the border with the UK last night (20 December).

The move comes as a new strain of COVID-19, believed to be more transmissible, was discovered in the UK and led to British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, putting many parts of South East England, as well as London, into a more severe form of lockdown.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett noted retailers have brought in more ambient stock than usual for the time of year amid long-standing industry concerns about border delays after the Brexit transition.

“The Christmas supply chain is resilient and our industry is very good at making sure we’ve got all the goods we need as we’ve shown throughout the pandemic,” said Burnett.

“So we urge people not to panic buy, which could spark unnecessary shortages in January when some goods could already be harder to come by.”

Burnett raised concerns about British exports moving across the border this week and what facilities are available to lorry drivers stuck in queues in Kent, the county home to one of the UK’s largest ports in Dover.

“Truckers typically have low COVID-19 infection rates given the nature of their jobs and minimal contact they have with others, so it doesn’t make sense they can’t cross the border into France,” added Burnett.

“We’re reassured UK Ministers are making every effort to resolve this issue with their French counterparts as quickly as possible.”