Wales has confirmed it will close its border to people travelling from England’s coronavirus hotspots.
The rule will come into force from 6pm today, and will apply to those living in tier 2 and tier 3 areas in England, and places considered ‘high risk’ in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In a statement, first minister Mark Drakeford said the number of Covid-19 cases across Wales was growing, with the health services 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,’ he said.
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‘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.’
People are already unable to enter or leave areas of Wales subjected to local lockdown restrictions without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.
He previously said he was implementing the measure ‘as a matter of fairness’.
It comes after Mr Drakeford accused the Boris Johnson of ignoring two letters requesting he introduce the measure.
But Number 10 had refused to do so, saying there was already ‘very clear guidance’ that people in the worst affected areas should avoid non-essential travel.
So Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament earlier this week that as Mr Johnson has not replied to his requests for travel restrictions, he would begin to enforce devolved powers.
Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price, who had been calling for movement from the Welsh Government, tweeted: ‘At last!’
But the move was criticised by the Welsh Conservative health spokesman Andrew RT Davies, who claimed there was an ‘unhealthy obsession’ with ‘banning the English’.
Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon also backed Mr Drakeford’s calls, saying a ‘sensible agreement’ between the four nations needed to be reached.
The R number for Wales is now at 1.4, with around 2,500 people in the country being infected with the virus every day.
‘These figures would have been much higher if we hadn’t acted quickly and early to put local and national measures in place,’ Mr Drakeford said.
‘We are still in a better place in Wales than in any other part of the United Kingdom.’
He added Wales is facing a ‘very serious winter’ and has reached a ‘critical point’ with coronavirus.
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