More countries are banning arrivals from the UK because of concerns at the spread of a new variant of coronavirus.

On Sunday, France shut its borders with the UK for 48 hours, meaning no lorries or ferries will be able to sail from the port of Dover.

Queues are growing in Kent, leading to the Prime Minister to hold an emergency Cobra meeting to ease the restrictions.

Belgium, Ireland and India have also suspended flights, with India suspending them until 31 December.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that coronavirus vaccine supplies would not be affected by the travel bans.

The ban comes as coronavirus cases in the UK rose by 35,928 on Sunday nearly double the number recorded a week earlier. The rise is being linked to the new variant of the Coronavirus which has spread across the South of England resulting in the new Tier 4 restrictions.

Government scientists believe the new strain is able to transmit more easily than previous versions.

The new easier spread virus became the dominant version across places like London who were able to mix after being placed into Tier 2 restrictions until last week.

The prime minister revealed that the variant could be “up to 70% more transmissible” than the original virus.

Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said there is no evidence the new variant of the virus is more deadly or will affect the vaccine.

The new strain was first detected in September. In November around a quarter of cases in London were the new variant, reaching two-thirds of cases in mid-December.

Under the new tier restrictions people living in tier 4 areas will be banned entirely from mixing with households over Christmas.

In all other areas of England, Christmas bubbles will be permitted on Christmas Day only.

The government had previously told people three households would be allowed to mix for five days between December 23 and December 27, however that has now changed.

The government has pledged to refund all rail and coach travel bought within the UK for the now cancelled Christmas travel window.

The Transport Secretary said the move would ensure “no-one is left out of pocket for doing the right thing”.

The travel lockdown has also had implications on shops, with retailers playing down fears of food shortages. They did, however, warn of “serious disruption” if the blockade is prolonged.

Sainsbury’s warned it could face “gaps” in some of its fresh food supplies within days if the UK failed to resolve the issue.

Grant Shapps said most cross-Channel trade would be unaffected by the ban and that he and his French counterpart were working to resolve the blockade.