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Wales bans travellers from rest of UK’s COVID hotspots

Written by on 14 October 2020

The Welsh first minister has announced a ban on anyone living in areas with a high prevalence of COVID-19 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland entering Wales.

Mark Drakeford said he was introducing the measure after Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not respond to two letters asking him to enact the policy across the UK.

It is set to come into force at 6pm on Friday.

Mr Drakeford said he was “determined to keep Wales safe” and the evidence suggests COVID-19 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 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.

“This is designed to prevent the spread of infection within Wales and to other areas of the UK.

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“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.”

The first minister told Sky News earlier that his government was carrying out “detailed planning” for a potential short national lockdown.

Speaking to Kay Burley, Mr Drakeford said a “circuit breaking period” could be the “most effective way of turning back the tide of coronavirus”.

“We want to act now in order to prevent the worst from happening, to give us a better chance of getting through the rest of the autumn and the winter,” the first minister said.

Mr Drakeford said his government will look at the COVID-19 figures in Wales during the rest of the week before deciding whether such a step is required.

He said there should be a four-nation meeting of the government’s emergency COBRA committee to “look at it together”.

Mr Drakeford added that it was not “sensible” for Boris Johnson to dismiss a second national shutdown.

“They ought to sit down with everybody, look at it seriously and then make a proper decision,” he said.