Wales travel ban for Covid hotspots around UK

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People living in Covid-19 hotspots in Scotland, England and Scotland will be banned from travelling to Wales from 6pm on Friday (October 16).

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament on Wednesday afternoon that he had asked for work on the travel ban to be brought forward after Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to reply to two letters requesting he introduce the measure across the UK.

The Welsh Government’s plans will bring people elsewhere in the UK in line with measures currently in place in the 17 areas of Wales under local lockdown restrictions.

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Under those rules, people must not enter or leave an affected area without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.

But currently, people living in Covid-19 hotspots elsewhere in the UK are free to enter areas of Wales not under restrictions where levels of the virus are low.

Addressing MSs in the Senedd on Wednesday, Mr Drakeford said: “No reply from the Prime Minister has been received in reply to my request.

“I have therefore asked for the necessary work to be brought forward which would allow for devolved powers to be used to prevent people travelling into Wales from high prevalence areas of the United Kingdom.”

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The First Minister added: “The timetable for the powers that we have in Wales is to do it by the end of the week.”

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.

He said the deadline would give “more time for the Prime Minister of the UK Government to do the things that we have asked him to do. To do the same thing for people who live in England as we have done for the people who live in Wales”.

Mr Drakeford noted he had received support from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for the travel ban, adding: “Now is the time for the Prime Minister to do the same thing.”

Ms Sturgeon earlier told the Scottish Government’s press briefing she supported Mr Drakeford’s push for travel restrictions to be imposed across the UK, and would not rule out imposing her own.

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“I want to be clear today that I back the calls from the First Minister of Wales and I’ll be writing to the Prime Minister today to seek urgent talks on that issue,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon added: “On the specific about travel restrictions, if we think putting formal travel restrictions in places necessary, we will do that and I don’t rule that out – I don’t rule anything out.”

The chief executive of the Welsh NHS, Dr Andrew Goodall, said he would also “welcome any actions that help us have a control of the levels of community transmission” when asked if he was in favour of the travel ban.

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