Wales is preparing to ban entry to people travelling from parts of the UK with high levels of Covid-19, the First Minister has announced.
Mark Drakeford has said he will go ahead with the ban if the Prime Minister fails to impose travel restrictions in England.
The announcement comes after lockdown restrictions were tightened across England this week, with the UK Government introducing a new three-tier system, diving parts of the country into ‘medium’ (Tier 1), ‘high’ (Tier 2) and ‘very high’ (Tier 3) Covid alert levels.
However, the new measures currently do not rule against travelling to other parts of the UK.
What has the Welsh Government said?
Mr Drakeford has said Wales will ban entry to people travelling from Covid-19 hotspots by Friday (16 October) if Boris Johnson fails to introduce UK-wide travel restrictions.
The First Minister told the Welsh Parliament he had asked for work on the travel ban to be brought forward after the Prime Minister failed to reply to two letters requesting he introduce the measure across the UK.
If Wales does introduce a ban, it will bring people elsewhere in the UK in line with measures that are currently in place in the 17 areas of Wales under local lockdown restrictions.
Under those rules, people must not enter or leave an affected area without a reasonable excuse, such as work or education.
In a statement on Wednesday (14 October), Mr Drakeford said: “No reply from the Prime Minister has been received in reply to my request.
“I have therefore asked for the necessary work to be brought forward which would allow for devolved powers to be used to prevent people travelling into Wales from high prevalence areas of the United Kingdom.”
“The timetable for the powers that we have in Wales is to do it by the end of the week.”
Who will the ban affect?
The ban is likely to apply to people in England who live in Tier 2 and Tier 3, all of Northern Ireland, and areas in the central belt in Scotland.
If the ban is introduced, it will prevent people in areas with a high prevalence of the virus from travelling to tourist destinations which have low coronavirus levels, such as the far west and south west of Wales.
Those who ignore the restrictions will be breaking the law and could face fixed penalty notices.
What are the current rules?
There are currently no rules against travelling to Wales from England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
This means that people living in Covid-19 hotspots elsewhere in the UK are free to enter areas of Wales that are not subject to local lockdown restrictions, where levels of the virus are low.
There are 17 counties in Wales that are now under local lockdown, with people who live in these areas not legally allowed to leave their council area without a reasonable excuse.
The areas with local restrictions in place include:
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Vale of Glamorgan
If you do travel to Wales, you will not be allowed to visit anyone’s home and will be subject to following the rules around social gatherings.
This includes a ban on indoor gatherings in groups that exceed more than six people, or with anyone from outside of your household.
Face coverings are also mandatory in indoor public places in Wales, and restaurants, pubs and cafes have been ordered to close at 10pm every night.
Additionally, off-licences and supermarkets are now not permitted to sell alcohol after 10pm, and hospitality businesses are limited to table service only.