Police to patrol Welsh roads to stop visitors from English covid hotspots

Police will be patrolling major Welsh roads to ban people from travelling into the country from coronavirus hotspots.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford has said police will be carrying out patrols to enforce the rules.
Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford has said police will be carrying out patrols to enforce the rules.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said police forces will be carrying out extra patrols to enforce his planned travel ban – expected to come into force tomorrow.

He said that officers will explain the rules to people but could also issue fixed penalty notices to those who "knowingly and flagrantly" breach them.

"They will take the action that they need to take but enforcement is the final resort, not the first resort," he said.

Mr Drakeford added that he had discussed the plans with police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales.

Officers will use a "range of techniques" to police the travel ban, he said.

First Minister Mark Drakeford also said holiday providers in Wales should not accept half-term bookings from people in areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus.

Asked about existing bookings, he said: "I'm afraid those bookings will no longer be able to be honoured.

'Baffled'

"It's why we're taking this action now to give people a good period of time to understand that, if you did book a holiday in those parts of Wales, I'm afraid that holiday will now no longer be able to take place."

Mr Drakeford also said he is "baffled" by Boris Johnson's reluctance to impose travel restrictions on people in Covid-19 hotspots across the UK.

He said that if the Prime Minister had supported the measure, it would have reinforced "the sense of acting together across the United Kingdom".

"I never wanted this to become an issue of the border and people travelling in and out of Wales," Mr Drakeford said.

"I've always thought it's an issue of high-incidence areas and low-incidence areas, wherever they may be.

"The Prime Minister says to me he's issued guidance. The problem with that is the police can't take action on the basis of guidance, they have to have the force of law behind them."

Mr Drakeford said Mr Johnson "could still change his mind and then we wouldn't need to do what we are doing".

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