Wales to introduce travel restrictions

Image of Castle in remote place, Wales

Carew Castle, Wales

The Welsh Government has announced that they are preparing urgent action to prevent people who live in areas with high coronavirus infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that under new regulations being prepared by Welsh Ministers, people living in areas with a high-prevalence of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland would not be able to travel to Wales for the time being. The new restrictions are planned to come into force on Friday October 16th at 6pm.

According to the The Guardian, the Welsh secretary, Simon Hart, has claimed that this plan risks stirring “division and confusion”.

Hart also expressed concern over comments from Drakeford that Welsh residents would be “on the lookout” for visitors who defied the ban.

He wrote to Mark Drakeford: “I remain worried that, without rapid explanation, this approach risks stirring division and confusion in Wales. We both know that, in reality, communities in Wales are as hard hit by Covid-19 as English, Scottish, and Northern Irish communities. Your recent comment about residents in west Wales being ‘on the lookout for people who shouldn’t be in those areas’ is an example of exactly the situation we should be trying to avoid.”

Hart also asked for a number of clarifications, including how the decision was made, the legal guidance behind it, whether university students would be allowed to travel home and how it would be enforced.

He asked whether holiday accommodation providers would be expected to refuse or cancel bookings from guests they believed were breaking the travel ban.

Drakeford has said police forces would carry out extra patrols and could use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to spot people who had travelled from long distances. Drakeford also said holiday businesses could not honour half-term bookings from people in areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus.

A limited “circuit-breaker” lockdown is also being considered for Wales.

Read more here.

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