People from coronavirus hotspots across UK to be banned from travelling to Wales

People from coronavirus hotspots across UK to be banned from travelling to Wales

 

People coming from coronavirus hotspots across the UK will be banned from entering Wales in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19.

First Minister Mark Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament powers to do so will be ready by the end of the week.

Mr Drakeford said the action was being taken after Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not reply to two letters requesting he introduce the measure across the UK.

He said: “Evidence from public health professionals suggests coronavirus is moving from east to west across the UK and across Wales.

“As a general rule, it is concentrating in urban areas and then spreading to more sparsely populated areas as a result of people travelling.”

He added it was “important” to emphasise that it was not an issue regarding the border between Wales and England but a “matter of fairness”.

“We are preparing to take this action to prevent people who live in areas where there are higher COVID infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales and bringing the virus with them,” he said.

Under regulations being prepared, people living in areas with high levels of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be able to travel to Wales without a reasonable excuse – such as work or education.

The new restrictions are planned to come into force at 6pm on Friday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she backed Mr Drakeford’s calls for the UK Government to introduce travel restrictions on people in areas with high levels of coronavirus.

The Welsh Prime Minister also said: “Much of Wales is now subject to local restriction measures because levels of the virus have risen and people living in those areas are not able to travel beyond their county boundary without a reasonable excuse.”

It comes after a No10 spokesman insisted “there are no physical borders between England and Wales”.

But he said there was already “very clear guidance” for people in high risk areas on Merseyside not to travel outside the area – and that would “include not making journeys to Wales”.

According to the latest data, there have been a further 946 cases of Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 32,316.

Public Health Wales said 10 further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,688.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a three-tier system of local restrictions for parts of England.

The Liverpool area, where infections have been rising in recent weeks, will become the first to be placed in the highest category, requiring bars and other businesses to shut.

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