Covid: Sir Keir Starmer calls for travel restrictions agreement

Henrietta Strickland
October 17, 2020

Under the regulations, people living in areas with a high-prevalence of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be able to travel to Wales for the time being.

The action is being taken after Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined the First Minister's requests to make advisory travel guidance in English coronavirus hotspots mandatory, he said.

Mr Bleasdale said: "There will also be plenty of individuals travelling legitimately from areas which are not high risk, and this will only add to the other difficulties officers face when policing the existing regulations".

But he said the country will only stand a chance of getting through the Christmas period if the circuit-break is followed by "a new set of national rules for the whole of Wales".

The move came as the United Kingdom government debated whether to extend tough new social restrictions to more parts of England as its three-tier plan for slowing the spread of COVID-19 takes effect.

The restrictions are meant to help stop the virus moving from urban, highly populated areas with a high prevalence of the virus elsewhere in the United Kingdom to more sparsely populated locations in Wales where levels of the infection are now low.

But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon voiced her support for Mr Drakeford's decision as she confirmed she will be writing to Mr Johnson seeking urgent talks on a UK-wide restriction.

"@scotgov will also take whatever action we consider necessary to control COVID".

BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt asked: "Maybe people traveling from outside of Wales in these areas you are concerned about have booked into holiday accommodations or hotels".

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".

"This is not the time for trite political points, " First Minister Arlene Foster told lawmakers at the regional assembly in Belfast as she announced the decision.

Mr Drakeford noted Welsh hotel owners should not be accepting bookings from people travelling from England in the first place.

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17 areas of Wales are now under local lockdown restrictions.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has also welcomed the Welsh Government's plan, saying the announcement was "long overdue" and necessary to protect people in Wales.

"With half term arriving for much of England next week, timing is now critical".

The proposed ban on people entering Wales from United Kingdom coronavirus hotspots "risks stirring division and confusion", the Welsh Secretary has said.

He explained: "We have other measures in place already, which may be helping us to begin to turn the tide. If there's not, if numbers continue to rise, then we will have to take further action".

But travel remains viable between areas subject to restrictions in England and parts of Wales now exempt from any further containment measures like Pembrokeshire and Powys.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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