With a new strain of covid-19 spreading rapidly in the UK, many countries have enforced travel bans on both land and air travels from the country. France also closed its borders to the UK. This action left a lot of lorries stranded along the M20 motorway and beyond.
The drivers can do nothing but wait. To be applauded are the kind volunteers who are making sure that these drivers are well-fed.
Applaudable Volunteer Spirit
Khalsa Aid, a Sikh humanitarian relief charity, and the Gravesend Gurdwara worked together. They provided hundreds of hot meals to these drivers. Many volunteers cooperated with the Kent police and the county council to provide these meals on short notice. All meals were prepared at the Gurdwara Langar kitchen.
At 12 pm on December 22, team leaders received calls requiring them to get to work. Alongside local authorities, they delivered 500 chickpea curries and 300 mushroom and pasta dishes to the drivers.
On Kent Online, it was reported that Jagdev Singh Virdee, the spokesman for Guru Nanak Darbar said:
“Khalsa Aid got in touch this morning at about 12 o’clock and by 2:30 pm, they came to collect the food. We made some phone calls to get volunteers together because we are already doing Langar, where we deliver to vulnerable people.”
It was a nice move to ask for the help of volunteers since they had other relief activities on hand. With the aid of a police escort, it was easy getting to the drivers’ location.
Why They Did It
The president of the Gurdwara, Manpreet Singh Dhaliwal told ITV News:
“That’s just part of Sikhism. It is sharing your wealth with others. So we’ve got plenty of stock and we would love to share it with other people.”
There were more than 2,850 lorries waiting to leave the UK. On December 23, rail, sea, and air travels to France resumed after some negotiations.
Travelers though, are required to show proof of a negative covid-19 test conducted within the last 72 hours.
Also, only essential travel is permitted. This includes the stranded lorry drivers, British citizens with French residency, and French citizens.
A lateral flow test is to be performed on drivers. This provides a result in about 30 minutes. Should any driver test positive, a more accurate PCR test will be conducted to confirm results.
Eventually, the backlog of lorries was cleared within two to three days. This happened as promised by the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps. But, likely, some drivers did not make it home for Christmas.