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Politics

U.K. Closes Virus Testing Site to Clear Space for Brexit Checks

U.K. Closes Virus Testing Site to Clear Space for Brexit Checks

  • Ebbsfleet station is among candidates for a Brexit lorry park
  • Virus testing site is relocated to Rochester in Kent
The coronavirus testing center at Ebbsfleet International Railway Station, U.K.
The coronavirus testing center at Ebbsfleet International Railway Station, U.K. Photographer: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images
The coronavirus testing center at Ebbsfleet International Railway Station, U.K.
Photographer: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

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Boris Johnson’s government closed a coronavirus testing facility so the site can be made available to handle customs checks after the U.K. leaves the European Union’s single market and customs union.

“The regional testing site at Ebbsfleet has ceased operations,” the Cabinet Office said in a statement. “Final decisions on inland sites will not be made until we have established the extent of new infrastructure that will be delivered at ports.”

U.K. Races to Fix ‘Critical Gaps’ in Brexit Border Plan

The U.K. is creating Brexit lorry parks where vehicles can be held to ensure they have the correct post-Brexit customs paperwork to cross into the EU. The plan is designed to limit traffic and supply chain chaos in January, when the Brexit transition period ends and hauliers will face new red tape.

The relocation of the facility, to a new site at Rochester, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) to the east, comes at a critical time for the government, which has faced shortages in its virus testing as new cases surge.