More than 1,500 lorries are stuck in Kent waiting to leave the UK as politicians thrash out a plan to reopen France’s border to trade and travel.
France shut the border for 48 hours on Sunday over the UK’s new virus variant.
Lorry drivers spent a second night sleeping in their vehicles, with Home Secretary Priti Patel saying on Tuesday there were 650 lorries stacked up on the M20 and 870 at a lorry park.
More than 40 countries have now banned UK arrivals.
Almost every EU member state has now stopped travel from the UK amid fears over the virus mutation, and the EU is talking about how to form a united response.
The UK’s top scientist Sir Patrick Vallance has warned the new variant is now “everywhere” in the country – and more areas may need to enter tier four to curb its spread.
He predicted there would be a spike in cases after Christmas, and restrictions might “need to be increased in some places”.
Dozens of countries, including Spain, France and India, have banned UK flights after parts of England, including London, entered tough tier four – “stay at home” – restrictions.
Around 17 million people in England are now living under tier four. Wales has entered a new national lockdown, Northern Ireland will begin a national lockdown on Boxing Day, and Scotland has tightened rules and will enter its top level of lockdown measures from Boxing Day.