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Wales to ban people from UK coronavirus hotspots from entering country

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 14/10/2020 April Roach
"Welsh Government to introduce Covid-19 travel ban from high risk UK areas "
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People who live in areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus cases could soon be prevented from travelling to Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the action was being taken after Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to respond to two letters requesting he introduce the measure across the UK.

Under regulations being prepared, people living in areas with high levels of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be able to travel to Wales.

a sign on the side of a road © Provided by Evening Standard

The new restrictions are planned to come into force at 6pm on Friday.

Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament: "I have therefore asked for the necessary work to be brought forward, which would allow for devolved powers to be used to prevent people from travelling into Wales from high-prevalence areas of the United Kingdom."

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He said it was “important” to emphasise that it was not an issue regarding the border between Wales and England but a “matter of fairness”.

“We’ve already heard from the First Minister of Scotland and she’s eager to support what we’re trying to do here. Now is the time for the Prime Minister to do the same thing,” Mr Drakeford told the Senedd.

“If he isn’t willing to do so then the timetable is for us to use the powers in Wales by the end of the week.”

Mark Drakeford wearing a suit and tie: Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said Boris Johnson had failed to respond to two letters (PA) © Provided by Evening Standard Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said Boris Johnson had failed to respond to two letters (PA)

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon advised Scots against travelling to high-risk areas of England.

The Scottish First Minister singled out Blackpool as “associated with a large and growing number of Covid cases in Scotland”.

Ms Sturgeon also said she backs Mr Drakeford’s call for the UK Government to introduce travel restrictions to prevent movement of people from areas of high prevalence into other UK nations.

She said she will be writing to the Prime Minister to “seek urgent talks” on the issue.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minister's Questions at the parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain October 8, 2020. Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS © Thomson Reuters Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minister's Questions at the parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain October 8, 2020. Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS

The First Minister said 15 deaths of confirmed coronavirus patients have been reported across Scotland in the past 24 hours and 1,429 people have tested positive.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, she said at least 180 people in Scotland who tested positive for Covid-19 in the last month reported a recent trip to Blackpool.

An incident management team had been set up to deal with those who have travelled between the town and Scotland.

“I need to advise you that trips to Blackpool are now associated with a large and growing number of Covid cases in Scotland,” the First Minister said.

A woman walks past a souvenir shop in Cardiff, south Wales on September 27, 2020, during preparations for the reinstatement of a lock-down, ahead of a 6pm deadline, as new restrictions are introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus covid-19. - Cardiff will become the first UK capital to go into local lockdown since a national shutdown earlier this year. The new restrictions in Wales, which bar people from entering or leaving areas unless for work, education or another valid reason, will also apply in second city Swansea, from 6pm (1700 GMT) Sunday, and in the town of Llanelli from Saturday. (Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images) A woman walks past a souvenir shop in Cardiff, south Wales on September 27, 2020, during preparations for the reinstatement of a lock-down, ahead of a 6pm deadline, as new restrictions are introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus covid-19. - Cardiff will become the first UK capital to go into local lockdown since a national shutdown earlier this year. The new restrictions in Wales, which bar people from entering or leaving areas unless for work, education or another valid reason, will also apply in second city Swansea, from 6pm (1700 GMT) Sunday, and in the town of Llanelli from Saturday. (Photo by Geoff Caddick / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

“Blackpool is being mentioned in Test and Protect conversations far more than any other location outside of Scotland.”

Meanwhile Covid-19 cases rose by 946 in Wales on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 32,316.

Public Health Wales said 10 further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,688.

Additional reporting by PA Media.

Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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