Wales 'actively considering' quarantine for visitors from UK Covid hotspots

5 October 2020, 14:05 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 14:06

Wales is "actively considering" imposing restrictions on people visiting from Covid hotspots in the rest of the UK
Wales is "actively considering" imposing restrictions on people visiting from Covid hotspots in the rest of the UK. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Welsh Government is "actively considering" imposing quarantine restrictions on people who visit from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus cases.

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething confirmed he and First Minister Mark Drakeford were looking at the idea in order to protect parts of Wales with low rates of Covid-19.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he did not want to restrict people living under local lockdown in England from going on holiday in Wales.

Mr Drakeford previously wrote to the UK leader asking him to implement travel restrictions for those affected by local lockdowns.

In Wales, people cannot enter or leave an area under such measures without a reasonable excuse, which does not include travelling for a holiday.

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Mr Gething told the Welsh Government's coronavirus press briefing on Monday: "We're actively considering what we should do and I've discussed it this morning with the First Minister.

"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."

Asked if the Welsh Government was considering imposing quarantine restrictions on people living elsewhere in the UK, Mr Gething said: "From high incidence areas across the UK, yes, we're actively considering it."

He added: "We'll have to consider the matter today.

"We'll have to take some advice from the scientific and medical advisers, public health advisers here.

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"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.

"So that underpins the rationale we've taken.

"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.

"Now, it's disappointing that we haven't had a response to the first minister's letter but we've seen the interview with the prime minister, where he indicated he's not prepared to do that at this point in time.

"So we then have to consider our own responsibility, our own powers and how we'll draw that in a way that is proportionate to the risk we face."

He added: "We're having to consider how we use our power to protect lower-prevalence areas of Wales but at the same time, we don't want to take a whole-nation approach," Mr Gething said.

"There's no good reason to prevent someone from Devon, at this point in time, coming to visit a pre-booked holiday or trip to Pembrokeshire.

"So we are thinking about how we use something that is proportionate and deals with the reality of the threat that we face."

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