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Covid border chaos: Lorry drivers at Manston speak of Christmas life stranded in Thanet


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Close to freezing temperatures, no access to washing facilities and no guarantee of food, a Christmas at blustery Manston isn't anyone's idea of festive fun.

But it's a reality thousands of truckers are now resigned to as they concede there is no hope in returning home for tomorrow.

Attela Kaliman and Robert Henstencz speak about life at Manston

Sergie Zborovski, from Belarus, has been waiting in his HGV for two days to get onto the makeshift lorry park at Manston.

He says he expects to be waiting days before he can get home, and due to being on the roadside, he has no access to facilities.

"People here are very kind, they have been bringing food and so it's not been too bad," he said.

"I won't be home for Christmas to see my wife and children.

Sergie Zborovski remains in good spirits despite the bleak situation
Sergie Zborovski remains in good spirits despite the bleak situation
Long queues on the roads surrounding Manston
Long queues on the roads surrounding Manston

"I hope to get onto the lorry park and so then I can be tested."

It is thought about 1,000 drivers have so far been tested at the airport .

Those with negative test results are then being released at intervals, 20 at a time towards Dover.

In an effort to feed the stranded drivers, men, women and children have turned up to help deliver essential supplies.

Food is being squeezed through the wired fence and passed over the top.

A small number of lorries leaving Manston

For those inside the lorry park, they are one small step closer to getting home in the coming days, but the wait will be even longer for those hundreds still stuck on the roads surrounding the airport.

Hauliers, some of whom have been sounding their horns in frustration, are then joining queues down in Dover.

All drivers, irrespective of nationality, require a lateral flow test. This can detect the new strain of Covid-19 and provide results in about 30 minutes, rather than the 24 hours required after a PCR test.

The French government will also carry out sample testing on incoming freight to the UK.

Supplies being handed over to stuck lorry drivers
Supplies being handed over to stuck lorry drivers

Highways England is still urging all motorists to avoid travelling to the county due to huge disruption.

Additional reporting by Joe Wright

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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