Britain and France reopened their border to some travelers on Tuesday and inched closer to a deal that would allow freight trucks to resume moving between the two countries, raising hopes of relief for hundreds of drivers stuck near British ports and for supermarkets warning that they could soon run short of fruit and vegetables.

On Sunday, France closed its border for 48 hours, fearing the spread of a new and possibly more transmissible variant of the coronavirus in Britain. That left more than 1,500 trucks stranded in the southeast as the Port of Dover and the Eurotunnel were shut to outbound traffic. Some drivers slept in their trucks for two nights.

As talks to break the impasse continued, France announced on Tuesday night that select groups of people would be allowed to travel from Britain to France if they could produce proof of a recent negative coronavirus test.

Those now allowed to travel include French and European Union citizens, noncitizens with a permanent residence in France, and other people whose travel is deemed essential. They include diplomats, health workers helping in France’s fight against Covid-19 and the drivers and crew of passenger planes, trains and buses.

Dozens of nations rushed to close their borders with Britain in recent days over concerns of a newly discovered coronavirus variant spreading there. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain said over the weekend that it had been shown to be more contagious than other variants. British officials said there was no reason to believe that the new variant caused more serious illness, and most experts doubt it will render the current vaccines ineffective.

France’s loosening of

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