People in Covid hotspots in England face being BANNED from Wales as First Minister says he will give PM ‘one final chance’ or will ‘take action to impose restrictions’
- Mark Drakeford will write to Boris Johnson asking him to implement a travel ban
- He will also threaten to block people from English Covid hotspots going to Wales
- Comes as Welsh health minister said there was evidence people travelling from high infection areas of England spread virus to other parts of the UK
People in coronavirus hotspots in England could be banned from travelling to Wales, with the Welsh First Minister saying he will give Boris Johnson ‘one final chance’ to introduce restrictions or he will ‘take action’.
Mark Drakeford will write to the PM today and urge him to stop people from making non-essential journeys to Wales from areas in England that are under Tier 3, ‘Very High’, restrictions.
He will also warn Mr Johnson that the Welsh government will’take action’ to introduce its own travel ban legislation if the PM doesn’t follow their request.
It comes as the Welsh health minister said there is now evidence that travel to and from areas of England with high rates of Covid-19 has contributed to the spread of the virus to other areas of the UK.
On Monday, Mr Drakeford attended a Cobra meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to discuss the proposed introduction of a tiered system of local restrictions in England.
Afterwards, a spokeswoman for the First Minister said Mr Drakeford had expressed ‘deep disappointment’ with Mr Johnson’s refusal to back his calls to ban people from English virus hotspots from making non-essential journeys into Wales.
A spokeswoman for the First Minister said Mr Drakeford had expressed ‘deep disappointment’ with Mr Johnson’s refusal to back his calls to ban people from English virus hotspots from making non-essential journeys into Wales
Mr Drakeford will now warn Mr Johnson that the Welsh government will’take action’ to introduce its own travel ban legislation if the PM doesn’t follow their request
The spokeswoman said: ‘The First Minister expressed deep disappointment at the inadequate proposals for travel restrictions in high-infection areas in England, and said these would be met with great dismay in many parts of Wales where infection rates are lower.’
Now, according to ITV, Welsh government sources believe it has the power to introduce its own legislation to stop English people arriving in the country from high infection areas.
At the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 press briefing in Cardiff, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said Mr Johnson had ‘chosen not to act’ on the issue of travel restrictions.
‘Myself and the First Minister are meeting again later today but we’re both really disappointed that the Prime Minister is still taking an approach where there is only going to be guidance on whether people should or shouldn’t travel out of highly infected areas,’ Mr Gething said.
‘This isn’t just an issue for Wales, it’s an issue for the whole UK – lower prevalence areas in England will be equally as affected as lower prevalence areas in Wales.’
Mr Gething said there is now evidence of ‘importation of coronavirus cases from contact with some of those high prevalence areas in England’.
‘We do know that travel in and outside of those areas has been a factor in the spread of coronavirus to other parts of the UK, including some examples here in Wales,’ he added.
A car drives past the Wales border line between Wales and England. The Welsh government now wants to implement a travel ban on people making non-essential journeys from Covid hotspots in England
Mr Gething said the Welsh Government does have ‘public health powers’ to impose its own restrictions on travel into Wales, which he previously suggested could include placing people from UK Covid hotspots into quarantine.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said he is ‘livid’ at Mr Johnson’s response, and that the Welsh Government ‘needs to act today’ on the issue of travel into Wales.
‘I’m livid about the attitude of the Prime Minister,’ Mr Price told BBC Wales.
‘Previously Mark Drakeford said there wasn’t any evidence of this kind of infection from people travelling from over the border.
‘Now we heard it from Vaughan Gething for the first time that there is actual evidence that has been identified of transmission that’s happened as a result of people coming from high-infection areas in England into Wales.
‘The Welsh Government needs to act today.’