A PORT says it has no plans to shut, despite the Government wanting to close them under new emergency laws.

The legislation, named the Coronavirus Bill, will enable the Home Secretary to close ports and airports if Border Force staff shortages result in a significant threat to the country’s security.

But a spokesman for Harwich International Port said the port is not expecting to close.

Instead it is taking a number of measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes setting up a virus steering group and is increasing the intensity of cleaning arrangements and restricting visitors.

A spokesman from the port said: “The health of our employees is our top priority.

“We are using various channels to relay to them the latest Government advice so they can protect their own health and we are putting in place measures to limit the prospect of contagion in the workplace.

“We have already activated plans to ensure business continuity.

“It is too early to say how trade will be impacted but the plans we have will help protect vital supply chains.”

At the same time airport bosses have announced plans to impose temporary pay-cuts and lay-offs to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Staff at Stansted could also be forced to take annual leave or reduce their working hours as bosses brace themselves for a dramatic decline in usage and impending travel bans as governments look to slow the spread of the virus.

Chief executive Charlie Cornish said: “The outbreak has led to a rapid and unprecedented reduction in demand for air travel in and out of the UK, and MAG airports are seeing much lower passenger numbers as a result.”