Brexit

Express
AN ALLY OF Emanuel Macron said the UK may not be “fully sovereign” after its split from the Bloc last month. France’s Junior Minister for European Union Affairs Clement Beaune claimed the UK still “needs to follow the bloc’s rules to maintain access to its market” after securing a trade deal on Christmas Eve. In an interview with Bloomberg, he added: “The UK has secured in this deal access to EU markets which we were ready to provide for.  “But respecting in many respects our rules and our standards which limits our ability to be fully sovereign. “It’s a balance that shows and I think in a way that is a great situation because they will have access to the markets but they will not decide on the roots of this big EU markets. “So I think it’s much better and we should demonstrate it insisting it to be within the club and to be able to decide on these rules. “With the trade deal that marked Britain’s departure from the EU on Dec. 31 they will have access on the markets, but they will not decide on the rules. “It’s much better to be within the club and to be able to decide on these rules.”

Telegraph
British hauliers have had ham sandwiches confiscated at the Dutch border after customs officers told truckers “welcome to Brexit”. In video footage aired by Dutch TV it shows British drivers having their packed lunches confiscated under new Brexit rules which ban the personal importation of any meat and dairy items. In the recording the officer tells the lorry driver, who is outside his vehicle at the Hook of Holland ferry terminal, that as a result of Brexit, “you are no longer allowed to bring certain foods to Europe, like meat, fruit, vegetables, fish, that kind of stuff.” The new laws came into effect on New Year’s Day, after the transition period was completed.  The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) states commercial drivers will “not be able to bring POAO (products of an animal origin) such as those containing meat or dairy (for example, a ham and cheese sandwich) into the EU”.  It comes as hauliers have warned that freight delays will escalate this week as more firms attempt to send lorries abroad.

BBC News
A Dutch TV network has filmed border officials confiscating ham sandwiches and other foods from drivers arriving in the Netherlands from the UK, under post-Brexit rules. The officials were shown explaining import regulations imposed since the UK formalised its separation from the EU. Under EU rules, travellers from outside the bloc are banned from bringing in meat and dairy products. The rules appeared to bemuse one driver. “Since Brexit, you are no longer allowed to bring certain foods to Europe, like meat, fruit, vegetables, fish, that kind of stuff,” a Dutch border official told the driver in footage broadcast by TV network NPO 1. In one scene, a border official asked the driver whether several of his tin-foil wrapped sandwiches had meat in them. When the driver said they did, the border official said: “Okay, so we take them all.” Surprised, the driver then asked the officials if he could keep the bread, to which one replied: “No, everything will be confiscated – welcome to the Brexit, sir. I’m sorry.”

Sun
DUTCH police officers have been filmed laughing at a British truck driver as they confiscated his ham sandwiches at the border. An officer at the Hook of Holland seaport mocks “welcome to Brexit, sir” – as new rules mean Brits are barred from bringing personal imports of meat into the EU. Dutch TV news aired footage of customs officers wearing hi-vis jackets taking the ham sandwiches away from drivers arriving by ferry. The bemused Brit attempted to meet in the middle, asking if he could keep the bread from his tinfoil-wrapped sandwiches, but the officer replied: “No, everything will be confiscated. “Welcome to Brexit, sir, I’m sorry.” Another border official at the Hook of Holland seaport went on to explain the new rules to the Netherlands’ NPO television. The EU doesn’t allow meat, meat products, milk or dairy products to be brought in from countries outside the union for “personal consumption.”  And now that Britain left the EU on January 1, the rules now apply to people crossing the Channel. Confused people commented on the video, with one person saying: “I don’t understand why a personal sandwich of a driver cannot come into the EU from the UK. I thought things for personal use didn’t count.” And another fumed: “This just makes the EU look like the petty bureaucracy leavers always said it was, to be honest.”

Mail
Dutch police officers have sparked fury after officers were filmed laughing at a British truck driver while confiscating his ham sandwiches in line with post-Brexit import rules. ‘Welcome to the Brexit, sir,’ one of the officers says mockingly in the video of the incident, as the driver pleads: ‘Can you take the meat and leave me the bread?’ Footage from Dutch TV showed the border officials confiscating sandwiches and other foodstuffs from drivers entering the Netherlands from the UK.  The EU does not allow for meat, meat products, milk or dairy products to be brought in from countries outside the union for ‘personal consumption’.  With Britain having left the EU on January 1, the rules now apply to people crossing the Channel. But the border officer’s strict stance on the newly-imposed rules has been slammed as ‘pathetic nit-picking’ by a leading Brexiteer. ‘The whole story smacks of one sandwich short of a picnic, literally,’ Andrew Bridgen MP told MailOnline. ‘As the Dutch know as well as everyone else in the EU we have the highest food standards in Europe.

EU

Express
BREXIT can still be reversed, France’s Minister for European Affairs has claimed in a clear indication the result of the 2016 referendum has not sunk in across the English Channel. And Clement Beaune, a close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, has also predicted future difficulties in the implementation of the trade deal unveiled by Boris Johnson on Christmas Eve in a number of key areas – including fishing, underlining France’s determination to protect the interests of its own industry. Mr Beaune has been an outspoken critic of the UK’s decision to quit the bloc, having claimed the process was based on “lies” and accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson of making a u-turn with the UK’s decision to pull out of Erasmus, the EU’s cultural programme for students.  Now he has floated the idea of Britain returning to the fold – less than a fortnight after Brexit was finalised. He told Politico: “I think we need to say what we think.  “I continue to think that Brexit is a bad thing, it’s a personal and political opinion, it will be a bad thing for the UK, it’s not good news for the EU.”

Times
The EU is trying to prevent its collective scheme for buying and sharing vaccines from unravelling after Germany was criticised for breaking ranks to secure 75 million extra doses for itself. Brussels warned member states yesterday against buying their own vaccines after Germany unilaterally ordered 50 million shots from two suppliers, as well as about 26 million doses that had been turned down by other countries. Witold Waszczykowski, the former foreign minister of Poland, who is an MEP for the ruling Law and Justice party, accused Germany of ignoring the rules that applied to the rest of the EU. “It is selfish behaviour to buy medicine by yourself, disrespecting common decisions,” he said.

Travellers

Sky News
People travelling to England from abroad will have to show they have tested negative for coronavirus before being allowed to enter the country from Friday. The COVID-19 test will need to be taken up to 72 hours before departure – and those who fail to comply will face an immediate £500 fine. Inbound passengers on boats, planes and trains are covered by the regulation, which also applies to UK nationals. Transport Minister Robert Courts said arrivals in England from 4am on Friday would be subject to the rule. “Both globally and domestically we are seeing significant increases in levels of coronavirus, including the emergence of worrying new strains,” he said. “It is therefore imperative that we ensure we are doing all we can to protect travel, reduce the risk of imported infections, including from new variants, and protect our NHS while national lockdown and vaccinations take effect. “We already have strong safeguards in place, including a requirement for mandatory 10-day self-isolation for the vast majority of arrivals and our Travel Corridors system remains critical in managing the risk of imported cases from high-risk countries.

Social distance

Mail
Boris Johnson is under pressure to increase the social distancing gap to stop the spread of coronavirus. Leading members of the Sage scientific advisory panel want the measure raised from ‘one metre plus’ to ‘two metres plus’. In practice this would change the limit to three metres – nearly 10ft. The drastic proposal came as a furious Matt Hancock denounced individuals who flout social distancing rules. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference the Health Secretary said that he would ‘not rule out further action if needed.’ He was backed by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, who sits on Sage and said it was time to ‘double down’ on Covid curbs – including outdoor contact. Asked if a three-metre rule would be imposed in England, a Downing Street spokesman said last night: ‘There are no current plans to change social distancing rules. However, everything is kept under review.’ It came as the country recorded a further 529 Covid deaths on Monday – marking a 30 per cent rise on the 407 reported on the same day last week.  It was the deadliest Monday since April 20 when 570 people lost their lives and it marked the worst week for deaths in Britain since the pandemic began.

Sun
BRITS were last night cautioned against going for takeaway coffees — amid warnings two pals meeting up will be outlawed if people continue to “flex” the rules. Boris Johnson and top Tories urged “exercise, not socialise” as the Government launched a shock and awe campaign to scare people into staying home. But there was confusion over exactly what is allowed and what is not allowed after police were forced into a humiliating climbdown after fining coffee drinkers in the Midlands. The PM said as he visited a vaccination centre in the South West today: “We are going to keep the rules under constant review. Where we have to tighten them, we will. “But we have rules in place which, if properly followed, we believe can make a huge, huge difference.” He urged everyone to stay at home as much as possible to protect the NHS and save lives – and he urged everyone to consider their actions as it was such a “perilous time” for the nation. Although he stopped short of telling Brits they shouldn’t enjoy a take-away coffee in a park, he added: “It’s now that people need to focus – whether they are out shopping, whether they are buying coffee in the park or wherever it happens to be, they need to think about spreading the disease. “Because as Chris said, one contact that you have can be a chain of transmission for this disease.

Masks

Sun
MORRISONS and Sainsbury’s will ban shoppers who refused to wear face masks in their stores. It comes amid fears that supermarkets could become hotspots for coronavirus. Sainsbury’s will order security guards to enforce mask laws as well as make sure people are not shopping in groups. Morrisons will stop customers from going inside without a face covering unless they are medically exempt as part of tougher restrictions. As part of the rules, customers who arrive at Morrisons stores without a face mask will be offered one free of charge by staff. If they then refuse to wear one, they won’t be allowed to enter stores. The only exception will be if you’re allowed not to wear a face covering for medical reasons, such as a physical or mental illness. Children under the age of 11 also don’t have to wear a face mask.

Guardian
The police have set themselves up for a conflict with ministers by insisting that they will not enforce mask-wearing in supermarkets amid growing calls for tougher Covid measures including a crackdown on the number of people in workplaces. Sources said the government was actively considering telling people to wear masks outdoors as the NHS faces its “most dangerous” point. A further 4,193 people were reported to have gone to hospital with coronavirus on Monday, bringing the current total to 32,294. A ban on people in England walking or exercising with anyone from outside their household is also on the table, with sources saying it was “under active consideration”. Ministers have been urged by trade unions to focus on underlining the need for home working as figures show that traffic on the tube in London – often used by commuters – is more than three times higher than in the first lockdown. The government is keen to intensify efforts to keep contact limited in supermarkets amid concern about infection rates linked to stores.

Vaccinations

Telegraph
Ministers are under pressure to expand the Covid vaccination programme and offer jabs “round the clock”, 24 hours a day, in order to speed up its rollout.  On Monday, the Government published its plan committing to offering Covid jabs to 32 million people – 60 per cent of the UK adult population – by the spring.  But on Monday night there was confusion about parts of the scheme, with health officials forced to hastily rewrite invitation letters due to be sent to hundreds of thousand of elderly people after they sparked panic.  The rollout of the invitations is also being hampered by major problems with deliveries by Royal Mail, with some areas facing long delays in receiving post.  On Monday, the head of the NHS said the number of doses administered by the vaccination programme had doubled in the past week, with more than 2.5 million now delivered.

Scotland

Express
NICOLA STURGEON’s SNP led Scottish Government has been branded as “stupid” as a report by a former Prime Minister claimed Scotland had the worst coronavirus detection rate in the Union.  A report, released by Our Scottish Future, claims Scotland’s test and trace system was picking up 9 percent fewer cases than English counterparts. The think tank, run by former PM Gordon Brown, claimed each tracing interview yielded an average of 4.1 contacts.  This is compared to England’s figure of 2.4 – but Our Scottish Future claimed the low detection rate meant the impact of Test and Protect on the R number is less than 5 percent. George Galloway, leader of Alliance4Unity, commented on the report and claimed the Scottish Government is too focused on independence. He urged the Scottish Government to change its priorities, telling Express.co.uk: “We have the world’s worst health ministry in a government still focussed on yet another referendum. “It is the very definition of stupid.”

Mail
Care home bosses ignited fury after boasting online about being vaccinated – while residents and frontline staff are forced to wait. Relatives are angry that seemingly healthy executives – one of whom is just 40 – have received their jab while their loved ones remain at risk. In one case, the leader of one of Britain’s biggest care providers was vaccinated before Christmas, despite not visiting any homes during the pandemic. Just 14 per cent of frontline carers have so far received a jab even though the Government says its ‘top priority’ is to get staff and residents in care homes vaccinated first. The Mail can reveal three chief executives, in charge of more than 300 care homes between them, have posted photos of themselves on social media being vaccinated since Christmas.

Times
Care home executives, NHS staff working from home and members of the public are jumping the queue for coronavirus vaccinations. The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation list begins with “residents in a care home for older adults and their carers”, followed by over-eighties and frontline health and social care workers. Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said one of his family members, an NHS administrator working from home, had been offered a vaccine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. “It makes sense to protect frontline workers, but we need to define this group of important workers very carefully if we are to get the most out of an initially limited supply of Covid vaccines,” he said.

Royal Mail

Express
ROYAL Mail is limiting parcel deliveries in some areas of the UK as the postal service is hit by coronavirus-related staff shortages. The company has published what has been called a “blacklist” of 28 areas in the UK which will not be getting as much post as usual. These areas include parts of London and the South East, as well as other regions such as Leeds. The list has been released on the Royal Mail’s website. Some residents have already spoken of delays in receiving mail, and the news has given rise to concerns that vaccine invitations may also be affected. The Government is aiming to vaccinate 14 million people by the middle of next month. Citizens over the age of 80 are being prioritised for vaccine access, and hundreds of thousands of invitation letters are being sent out in the coming days.

Health insurance

Mail
A free new insurance card enabling British travellers to access healthcare in the EU has been launched. Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) became available today as part of the UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU. It replaces European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC), which remain valid as long as they are in date. Travellers only need to apply for a new card when their EHIC expires. The Department of Health and Social Care said both cards offer equivalent protection for ’emergency and medically-necessary healthcare needs’ when a UK resident is in the EU on a temporary stay. But rather than continuing with membership of the EHIC scheme, British travellers will have access to free or reduced-rate medical treatment only in the EU27 – not the associated countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. GHICs can be obtained from www.nhs.uk/GHIC and are free of charge.  Travellers are advised to apply at least two weeks before their next trip.

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