Overnight Queue, Strict Rules For Queen Elizabeth II’s Lying In State

The Britain national flag flies half-mast at Buckingham Palace in London on September 12, 2022, where preparations are under way for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral following her death on September 8. AFP

 

Britons have a reputation for patiently waiting in line but the queue for Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state is likely to be unprecedented even by their standards.

A huge queue is expected to stretch through the night as people pay their respects to the queen in parliament’s Westminster Hall in London this week, the British government warned.

Mourners will also face airport-style security and obey strict rules, including an edict to wear appropriate clothing and a ban on filming, taking photographs or using mobile phones.

They will be allowed to file past the late monarch’s coffin non-stop from 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Wednesday night until 6:30 am on the morning of her state funeral on September 19.


READ ALSO: Britons Get First Chance To View Queen Elizabeth II’s Coffin


“Please note that the queue is expected to be very long. You will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down, as the queue will keep moving,” said the government guidelines issued on Monday.

“Please consider this before you decide to attend or bring children with you.”

Around 750,000 people are expected to descend on the queen’s lying in state. The queue could stretch for five miles (eight kilometres) and the waiting time last for up to 20 hours, The Times newspaper said.

The numbers are expected to be “far more” than the 200,000 people who filed past the coffin of the queen’s mother when she died in 2002, Prime Minister Liz Truss’s spokesman said on Monday.

He declined to give the overall anticipated.

Like her mother’s, Queen Elizabeth II’s closed coffin will rest on a raised platform known as a catafalque, and people will file past on both sides to pay their respects.

No barbecues

But it is likely to prove something of an endurance test to get that far.

The government advised people to wear “suitable clothing” for the weather conditions, including either warm clothing or an umbrella if it is wet, or sunscreen if it is hot.

They should also bring food and drinks to consume in the queue as there will only be limited places to buy refreshments in line.

They are also advised to bring a portable mobile phone charger.

In case people need to go to the toilet, they will be given wristbands allowing them to leave the queue for short periods, Downing Street said.

Fearing that people may try to camp out while in line, the government has also banned tents or gazebos and “barbecues or fires”.

Details for the route of the queue will be released on Tuesday.

When they finally reach the Palace of Westminster, mourners must pass an “airport-style security search point”.

They will be given a wristband allowing them to enter the building, which they must take off when they leave.

Inside, they face a forbiddingly long list of rules.

People should “dress appropriately” for the occasion and “respect the dignity of this event”, the guidelines said, adding: “Do not wear clothes with political or offensive slogans.”

Only small bags only are allowed. Large items must be left in a luggage-drop area but there is no guarantee there will be space.

Flowers, soft toys and other tributes are banned from inside the building. The government said they should instead be left in a special area in Green Park, near Buckingham Palace.

Anyone hoping to record for posterity their moment with the body of Britain’s longest-serving monarch will also be disappointed.

“You must not film, photograph or use mobile phones or other handheld devices” inside the hall, the guidelines said.

Queen’s Death Ignites Debate Over Africa’s Colonial Past

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 4, 2003 Queen Elizabeth II tours 04 December 2003 the secretariat of Karu Local council, near Abuja. – The queen travelled to more than 100 countries since 1952 — another record for a British monarch — and made more than 150 visits to Commonwealth nations. (Photo by IAN JONES / POOL / AFP)

 

From Kenya and Nigeria to South Africa and Uganda, Queen Elizabeth’s death met with an outpouring of official condolences, mourning and memories of her frequent visits to Africa during her seven decades on the throne.

But the British monarch’s passing also revived a sensitive debate over Africa’s colonial past.

Her death came at a time when European countries are under pressure to reckon with their colonial histories, atoning for past crimes and returning stolen African artefacts held for years in museums from London and Paris.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta were among those expressing condolences for the loss of an “icon.”

But many Africans reflected more on the tragedies from colonial times, including events that occurred in the first decade of her rule.

Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963, after an eight-year-long rebellion that left at least 10,000 people dead.

Britain agreed in 2013 to compensate over 5,000 Kenyans who had suffered abuse during the Mau Mau revolt, in a deal worth nearly 20 million pounds ($23 million).

“The Queen leaves a mixed legacy of the brutal suppression of Kenyans in their own country and mutually beneficial relations,” The Daily Nation, Kenya’s biggest newspaper, wrote in a weekend editorial.

Elizabeth was visiting Kenya in 1952 when her father died and she became queen.

“What followed was a bloody chapter in Kenya’s history, with atrocities committed against a people whose only sin was to demand independence.”

“While the ties with Britain have been useful, it is difficult to forget those atrocities.”

Treasures, Biafra war

As part of recent restorations for the past, Nigeria and neighbouring Benin have seen the return from Britain and France of the first of thousands of artefacts plundered during colonial times.

Nigeria’s so-called Benin Bronzes — 16th to 18th century metal plaques and sculptures — were looted from the palace of the ancient Benin Kingdom and ended up in museums across the US and Europe.

Nigeria’s Buhari said the country’s history “will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth II”.

While some praised her role leading up to Nigeria’s independence, others pointed out she was head of state when Britain supported Nigerian army during the country’s civil war.

More than one million people died between 1967-1970, mostly from starvation and disease, during the conflict after ethnic Igbo officers declared independence in the southeast.

“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government sponsored genocide…you can keep wishing upon a star,” Nigerian-born US-based professor Uju Anya said, in a Twitter reference to the Biafra war that triggered fierce debate on social media.

Similar mixed reactions were expressed in South Africa, where President Cyril Ramaphosa called her an “extraordinary” figure.

But the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters or EFF movement was more dismissive, recalling decades of apartheid, in which Britain, the former coloniser, was often passive.

“We do not mourn the death of Elizabeth, because to us her death is a reminder of a very tragic period in this country and Africa’s history,” EFF said in a statement.

Ugandan legacy

In Uganda, some went back further, recalling the Bunyoro Kingdom’s ruler Omukama Kabalega, who resisted British rule in the late 1890s.

He was deposed and exiled to the Seychelles and the kingdom was then absorbed into the British empire.

“As much as the queen was able to maintain cohesion of the former British colonies, she had not addressed adequately the injustices meted out on some of the states including Uganda,” said former intelligence director and now political analyst, Charles Rwomushana.

Last month, the Uganda Tourism Association called for a committee to lead the return of Ugandan artefacts from British and other foreign museums, including some 300 from Bunyoro, according to the parliament.

Charles Onyango-Obbo, writer and Uganda government critic, said on Twitter many long-ruling African leaders used Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign to justify their own decades in power.

“Now that she has passed, they are scrambling to learn how to make their case convincingly in the past tense.”

Mukoma Wa Ngugi, the son of Kenya’s world renowned writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o and who is himself a novelist as well as an associate professor of English at Cornell University, also questioned the Queen’s legacy in Africa.

“If the queen had apologised for slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism and urged the crown to offer reparations for the millions of lives taken in her/their names, then perhaps I would do the human thing and feel bad,” he wrote on Tweeter.

“As a Kenyan, I feel nothing. This theater is absurd.”

Economy, Politics, Family Issues Will Top King Charles III’s Agenda, Says Archer Mills

 

New British monarch, King Charles III, will have his plate full in terms of issues to be dealt with as he ascends the throne.

That’s according to the founder of the British Monarchists Society, Thomas Archer Mills.

He told Channels Television’s Ladi Akeredolu-Ale on our current affairs programme Newsnight that following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the new King must steer his country through some of the time’s greatest challenges from economic to political and even royal family issues.

“The Crown is not in a state where we would say everything is going to be bliss in the court of King Charles III,” he said.

“We have Jamaica looking to leave as a realm to become a republic, same as Barbados did last year under Her Majesty. We do have a lot of personal family strife and issues within the family that the new King is trying to sort and we saw that in his speech to the nation”.

According to him, the King is likely to see a recession in the country, have to contend with pending issues around Brexit and more.

“There is a lot we are going to be facing,” he said.

For the full interview with Mr Archer Mills, watch Newsnight, tomorrow, Monday, September 12, 2022, at 9 pm on Channels Television

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Declares Three Days Mourning For Queen Elizabeth

In this file photo taken on October 22, 2021 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during a press conference.

 

President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday declared three days of national mourning in Brazil for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who died after 70 years on the throne.

The far-right president, who is running for reelection next month, said in a note in the official gazette that the gesture was “in condolence for the death of her majesty the queen.”

Elizabeth II, Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter, was “a queen not just to Britons, but to all of us.”


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“She was an extraordinary and singular woman whose example of leadership, humility and love of country will continue to inspire us and the world forever,” he added.

Brazil, a former Portuguese colony, does not have particularly close ties to Britain.

As the presidential palace in Brasilia lowered the flag to half-staff, some questioned whether the president had ulterior motives for the show of sympathy.

“I see Bolsonaro’s gesture as more linked to his voters’ preference for conservative themes, tradition and monarchy,” said political scientist Mauricio Santoro of Rio de Janeiro State University.

Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who leads Bolsonaro in opinion polls for Brazil’s October 2 elections, also tweeted his condolences.

“She left her mark on an entire era,” the leftist leader wrote, alongside a picture of him greeting Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace during a 2009 visit to London as president.

Sex Pistols And ‘The Simpsons’: The Queen In Pop Culture

In this file photo taken on June 24, 2015 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II arrives for a receiving line and state banquet with German President Joachim Gauck at the presidential Bellevue Palace in Berlin.

 

From a Sex Pistols single to “The Simpsons”, “The Crown” and Andy Warhol works, Queen Elizabeth’s pop culture cameos were frequent and often unforgettable.

Some depictions were affectionate, others more hostile, but the monarch’s indelible image in art, music and film cemented her status as one of the most recognisable people in the world.

Here are some of her most memorable appearances:

‘God Save The Queen’

With her eyes and mouth covered with collaged words, the cover of the 1977 Sex Pistols single “God Save The Queen” is one of the most iconic images of the punk movement — and of Elizabeth II.

The artist, Jamie Reid, also created a version depicting the queen with a safety pin through her mouth and Nazi swastika symbols on her eyes.

Of the many other songs about the queen, the gentle “Her Majesty” by The Beatles in 1969 contrasts with “Elizabeth My Dear” on the 1989 debut album by The Stone Roses, where they declared they would not rest until she lost the throne.

“The Queen Is Dead”, the title track from the 1986 hit album by The Smiths, featured lead singer Morrissey railing against media fascination with the royal family.

“The very idea of the monarchy and the queen of England is being reinforced and made to seem more useful than it really is,” Morrissey told NME magazine.

“The whole thing seems like a joke. A hideous joke.”

In 2005, electronic dance act Basement Jaxx imagined the queen on a night out in London for the music video for “You Don’t Know Me”, showing her visiting a strip club and getting into a fight.

Warhol’s silkscreens

The queen sat for numerous artists during her reign, including Cecil Beaton, Lucian Freud and Annie Leibovitz, showing her in full regalia, at work or with her family.

But few captured the public imagination like Andy Warhol’s technicolour silkscreens, as part of a 1985 series about reigning queens.

Warhol used an official photograph that he customised in a range of colours and styles — a treatment also used to depict stars such as Marilyn Monroe.

Screen time

Readily identified by her cut-glass accent and boldly-coloured outfits, the queen was much depicted in cartoons, television shows and films.

She popped up several times in cult US series “The Simpsons”, including in one episode where the main character, Homer, drove into her golden carriage on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

The monarch featured in British satirical puppet show “Spitting Image” and in children’s television hit “Peppa Pig”, where she jumped in muddy puddles.

She also featured in the movies “Minions”, “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and “The Naked Gun” among many others — in some of them played by Jeannette Charles, her most famous British lookalike.

Private life

The queen rarely gave interviews and never retailed details about her most private moments.

But cinematic portrayals of the life she was presumed to lead behind the palace gates were many.

Laid out in films, plays and television programmes, all helped to shape public perceptions of the royal family.

She was depicted as a child in the Oscar-winning movie “The King’s Speech”, about her father King George VI’s struggle to overcome his stammer, and as a monarch, facing public anger after the 1997 death of her daughter-in-law Princess Diana, in “The Queen”.

One of the most influential was Netflix’s big-budget TV series “The Crown”, which told in luxurious detail the story of the queen and her husband Philip from before she ascended to the throne, complete with family rows, scandals and political crises.

Olympic spoof

After years of her image being used and abused, the queen took to the screen herself in 2012 in a sketch for the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

She was filmed surrounded by her beloved corgis at Buckingham Palace as she met James Bond star Daniel Craig, who was dressed as the suave spy in black tie.

“Good evening, Mr Bond”, she said, before the pair appeared to get in a helicopter, fly across London and then parachute into the stadium.

In 2016, she also appeared in a video with her grandson Prince Harry which also featured former US president Barack Obama, to promote the prince’s veterans sports championship, the Invictus Games.

One of her last appearances was with the popular animated children’s television character, Paddington Bear, at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.

The pair shared a love of marmalade sandwiches and tapped out the beat to Queen’s anthem “We Will Rock You” to kickstart a star-studded pop concert.

Harry, Meghan Make First Public Appearance In Europe Since Royal Exit

Britain’s Duke of Sussex Prince Harry (C) and his wife Duchess of Sussex Meghan (R) speak with officials as they arrive ahead of The Invictus Games in The Hague on April 15, 2022. (Photo by Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP) 

 

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on Friday made their first joint public appearance on this side of the Atlantic since quitting royal life and moving to North America two years ago.

The Sussexes attended an evening reception in the Dutch city of The Hague for the Invictus Games, a day after a visit with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II in Britain on Thursday.

Harry, who served with the British army in Afghanistan, founded the event for disabled military veterans that starts on Saturday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Thursday met Queen Elizabeth, who will celebrate her 96th birthday in a few days, at Windsor Castle.

Harry, 37, and his wife, 40, were criticised by British tabloids for skipping Prince Philip’s memorial service in Westminster Abbey last month.

Philip, who was married to the queen for 73 years, died last April just weeks short of his 100th birthday.

Harry and Meghan had not visited the UK together since their decision to step aside from the royal family.

More than 500 participants from 20 countries are taking part in the Invictus Games, which have been postponed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry (R) and his wife, Meghan Markle (C) look on as participants compete in The Invictus Games in The Hague on April 16, 2022.  (Photo by Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP)

 

‘In danger of death ‘

Just before the prince’s arrival, the Ukrainian team made their arrival to great applause.

The team of 19 people from war-torn Ukraine arrived in the Netherlands to take part but the group regretted the absence of one participant, imprisoned in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

The paramedic, Yuliia Paievska, known as Taira, is “in danger of death now”, a spokeswoman for the team told AFP.

“She is the only woman on the team and was due to compete in archery and swimming,” the team said in a statement.

On Saturday, the royal couple will attend the opening ceremony of the games, with Prince Harry due to deliver a speech.

The Invictus Games, the first of which took place in London in September 2014, have been a recurrent theme in Harry and Meghan’s relationship.

It was during the 2017 games that the prince made his first public appearance with the American ex-actress. The following year, they were in Sydney, a few days after announcing she was pregnant.

Harry and his wife quit life as frontline royals and decamped to Canada and then California two years ago.

As a result of their decision, the UK government withdrew his taxpayer-funded protection on visits back to Britain, a decision that Harry is challenging in the courts.

 

Britain’s Duke of Sussex Prince Harry (L) and his wife Duchess of Sussex Meghan (R) walk with officials on the yellow carpet ahead of The Invictus Games in The Hague on April 15, 2022.  (Photo by Sem van der Wal / ANP / AFP) 

 

The queen, who has been in fragile health, marks her record-breaking 70th year on the throne in June with public events due to be held over four days to mark the occasion.

The Invictus Games will end on April 22.

Queen Elizabeth II To Bury Her ‘Strength And Stay’ Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II’s 99-year-old husband Prince Philip, who was recently hospitalised and underwent a successful heart procedure, died on April 9, 2021, Buckingham Palace announced. (Photo by Leon NEAL / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Queen Elizabeth II bids a final farewell to her late husband, Prince Philip, on Saturday, at a funeral restricted by coronavirus rules but reflecting his long life of military and public service.

The ceremony behind the stately walls of Windsor Castle, west of London, will be watched by an expected television audience of millions, with the public urged to stay away because of the pandemic.

The Duke of Edinburgh — described by royals as “the grandfather of the nation” — died on April 9, aged 99, just weeks after spending more than a month in hospital for treatment of a heart condition and an infection.

Britain’s longest-serving royal consort was an almost constant presence at the Queen’s side during her record-breaking reign that began in 1952 as Britain rebuilt from World War II and as its global empire began to unravel.

His death, after 73 years of marriage, has left a “huge void” in her life, the couple’s second son, Prince Andrew, said last weekend.

The Queen released a touching personal photograph of herself with Prince Philip, both looking relaxed and smiling in the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland in 2003.

Images of key moments in the couple’s marriage were also shared on the royal family’s social media accounts.

Most newspapers reflected on her deep personal loss. “The Queen bids farewell,” headlined The Times.

At the service, the Dean of Windsor, David Conner, will pay tribute to Philip’s “unwavering loyalty” to his wife, who turns 95 next week, the country and the Commonwealth, as well as his “courage, fortitude and faith”.

Government Covid-19 regulations have forced hasty revisions to “Operation Forth Bridge”, the long-rehearsed funeral plans for former Royal Navy commander Philip.

But the stripped-back ceremonial funeral will still feature members of the armed services he was associated with lining a short procession route through the immaculately trimmed grounds of the castle, whose history dates back 1,000 years.

His coffin will be borne to Windsor’s historic St George’s Chapel on a bespoke Land Rover hearse which he designed himself, repainted in military green.

A minute’s silence will be observed across the country on the stroke of 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) before the funeral service begins.

 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 25, 2009 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (R) and Prince Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (L) watch a bell cast from molten metal during a visit to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in east London, on March 25, 2009. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / POOL / AFP)

 

– End of an era –
The Queen will lead just 30 mourners, as they pay their respects to the man she once called her “strength and stay”, and whose death closes a remarkable chapter for Britain’s most famous family and the country’s recent history.

The congregation will mostly be close family, including the couple’s four children: heir to the throne Prince Charles, 72, Princess Anne, 70, Prince Andrew, 61, and Prince Edward, 57.

Also present will be Charles’ eldest son William, 38, who will be joined by younger brother, Harry, 36, after he jetted back last weekend from the United States, where he now lives.

All eyes will be on the brothers — whose mother was Charles’ first wife, princess Diana — after a reported falling out over Harry’s move to California with his American wife, Meghan, and their stinging criticisms of the royals.

Meghan, heavily pregnant with her second child, was advised not to travel on medical grounds.

The brothers, who as young boys walked behind their mother’s coffin at her funeral in 1997, will follow the procession on foot, but not side-by-side.

Between them will be their cousin, Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, 43, which will likely fuel further rumours of the rift, even if it reflects royal protocol.

 

An ardent Royals supporter pays tribute outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, west of London, on April 9, 2021, following the announcement of the death of Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

 

– Masks and social distancing –
Funerals of senior royals are normally grand public affairs, honed over years of planning, combining pomp, pageantry, and a guest list that is a who’s who of world dignitaries.

The last major royal funeral — of the Queen’s mother, also called Queen Elizabeth — in 2002 cost more than £5.4 million ($7.4 million).

More than one million people thronged outside Westminster Abbey in central London to watch the sombre pageant.

More than 200,000 people had previously filed past her coffin, as it lay in state over four days.

Saturday’s ceremony will be a more modest affair but a royal send-off like no other, with two-metre social distancing in place inside the 15th century Gothic chapel.

All guests — in mourning black — are required to wear black face masks before, during and after the ceremony. Harry has had to quarantine since arriving from Los Angeles.

Royal officials and the government have urged the public not to congregate at palaces to pay their respects, although a steady stream of well-wishers have ignored the calls.

The slimmed-down formalities, however, may have appealed to the straight-talking prince, who had an aversion to “fuss”, according to his family.

At the end of the funeral, led by the Dean of Windsor with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the duke will be privately interred in the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel.

When the Queen dies, he will be transferred to lie alongside her in the King George VI memorial chapel, which houses the remains of her father, George VI, her mother, and the ashes of her younger sister, Princess Margaret.

Pope Praises Prince Philip’s ‘Devotion’ To Marriage And Family

Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi Blessing, after celebrating Easter Mass on April 04, 2021 at St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Pope Francis on Saturday saluted Prince Philip, the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II, as a man devoted “to his marriage and family.”

In a message to the British monarch, the 84-year-old Argentine pope offered “heartfelt condolences to Your Majesty and the members of the Royal Family.”

He praised the prince, who died on Friday aged 99, for his “devotion to his marriage and family, his distinguished record of public service and his commitment to the education and advancement of future generations.”

Francis concluded his message by invoking “the Lord’s blessings of consolation and peace” for the queen and for “all who grieve (Prince Philip’s) loss.”

 

Queen Elizabeth To Get COVID-19 Vaccine In Weeks – Reports

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attends the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP

 

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine within weeks, after UK regulators granted emergency approval and the world’s first roll-out begins next week, reports late Saturday said.

The monarch, 94, and her 99-year-old husband Prince Philip are in line to get the jab early due to their age and will not receive preferential treatment, the Mail on Sunday reported.

The newspaper said Britain’s most senior royals would reveal they have been given the inoculation “to encourage more people to take up the vital jab”, amid fears so-called anti-vaxxers could dent enthusiasm for it.

Britain on Wednesday gave emergency approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, with health officials set to use criteria based on age and vulnerability to decide the order of people to receive it.

Elderly care home residents and their carers will be the very first to get inoculated, followed by those aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff.

Other elderly people and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be next, with the rest of the population then prioritised by age.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

READ ALSO: Mass Evacuation In Frankfurt As WWII Bomb Is Defused

The Daily Mirror also reported a string of high-profile figures in Britain had committed publicly to getting the vaccine in a bid to boost take-up.

They include Monty Python star Michael Palin and Bob Geldof, the tabloid said.

Britain has pre-ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine in total, and is set to receive an initial batch of 800,000 to begin next week’s rollout.

Regulators were forced to defend their world-first approval on Wednesday of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, insisting it met all safety standards after US and European officials queried the rapid process.

Meanwhile, plans are reportedly being stepped up to ensure any complications arising from the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 do not impact its roll-out.

The vaccine will be manufactured at Pfizer’s plant in Puurs, Belgium, and needs to be transported in temperature-controlled thermal shippers that use dry ice.

The Observer reported late Saturday that ministers have drawn up contingency plans to fly millions of doses into Britain on military aircraft in the event of Brexit-related disruption at UK ports.

“We will do this if necessary,” a health department spokesperson told the newspaper.

Talks to finalise a UK-EU free trade deal and avoid potential chaos in January are currently gridlocked, with just days left to seal an agreement.

AFP