Wales is considering imposing quarantine restrictions for UK visitors

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 12:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 12:27 pm
Travel to Wales from other parts of the UK is currently allowed (Photo: Shutterstock)
Travel to Wales from other parts of the UK is currently allowed (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Welsh government is considering introducing quarantine restrictions for people from other parts of the UK who travel into Wales.

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The quarantine measure would only apply to those who visit from areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus, which would include the towns and cities under local lockdown.

‘Actively considering’ restrictions

Wales’ Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, confirmed that the Welsh government is assessing options after Boris Johnson said he did not want to introduce measures to restrict people living in England under lockdown from going on holiday in Wales.

Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, had previously written to the Prime Minister, asking him to introduce travel restrictions for people in areas of England under local lockdown.

At present, people in Wales must not enter or leave an area that is under local restrictions without a reasonable excuse, which does not include travelling for a holiday.

Speaking at the Welsh government’s Covid-19 press briefing on 5 October, Mr Gething said, “We have quarantine regulations for international travel. So for some of the hotspot areas in the north of England, the North East and North West, and the West Midlands, if they were other countries or territories, we would have quarantine regulations for them to return to the UK.”

The Welsh government is now “actively considering” imposing quarantine restrictions on people in other parts of the UK that are subject to such restrictions, meaning if they travel to Wales, they will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

Mr Gething said, “From high incidence areas across the UK, yes, we’re actively considering it. We’ll have to take some advice from the scientific and medical advisers, public health advisers here.

“And we’ll then need to consider whether this is the right course of action because the measures we’ve introduced in Wales are about isolating areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus and protecting lower prevalence areas.

“It’s consistent with the approach all four UK nations have taken to international travel and quarantine restrictions, where we recognise that higher prevalence areas in other parts of the world represent a risk to coronavirus being re-imported or having an opportunity to spread further within the UK.”

How has the Prime Minister responded?

When asked about the proposals being considered by the Welsh government, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said it is a decision for the devolved nation to determine.

As for the guidance set out in England, the spokesman said steps have been put in place in areas under local lockdown to reduce travel, with people being encouraged to cycle and walk rather than to use public transport.

The suggestion of imposing such strict travel restrictions in Wales has been met with criticism from some Welsh MPs, with Paul Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, stating that trying to limit travel across the UK “is extremely dangerous.”

He said, “I think we need to rely on people’s common sense. People shouldn’t be travelling if they don’t have to.

“That’s the guidance here in Wales, and I’d like to think that people will use their common sense and do that.”