Wales brings in travel ban for UK virus hotspots

It will immediately prevent travel from areas in England in tiers two and three, the central belt of Scotland, and the whole of Northern Ireland.

The M4 motorway near Cardiff in Wales
The M4 motorway near Cardiff in Wales

A travel ban preventing people from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus from entering Wales will come into force on Friday, the Welsh First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford announced the restrictions in a written statement on Friday afternoon, in which he said the restrictions were needed to help stop the virus moving from urban, highly populated areas to more rural areas.

The restrictions are expected to come into force from 6pm on Friday, and immediately prevent travel from areas in England in tiers two and three, the central belt of Scotland, and the whole of Northern Ireland.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (Brian Lawless/PA)

Unless their designated risk level changes, the ban will not immediately affect people who live in the Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin boroughs.

Both areas are currently in the tier one "medium" risk category, meaning pubs are still allowed to open even if they don't serve food and people can visit other households so long as they adhere to the "rule of six".

Mr Drakeford said: “The number of cases across Wales is growing and our health service is coming under pressure.

“To keep Wales safe, the Welsh Government is therefore amending the Regulations to make it clear that people living in areas with a high-prevalence of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland would not be able to travel to parts of Wales where there is a low prevalence.

“It is vital that we keep communities which have low levels of infection as safe as possible and this sensible and necessary restriction will help prevent the virus moving from more urban, highly populated areas to more sparsely populated areas.

“It is already prohibited for people to travel into a local health protection area here whether they come from other parts of Wales, the UK or from other countries.

“As with the rules for Local Health Protection Areas there are some exceptions such as work or providing charitable or voluntary services when those cannot be carried out where they live.

“We also recognise that this is a particularly difficult time for children and young people and we will also amend the regulations to allow children to leave their local health protection areas to play sport or participate in other activities such as drama or dance classes which are so important to their mental and physical health and wellbeing.

“If we all continue to work together, we can protect ourselves and families and keep Wales safe.”

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