Wales has strong ties and links with people from around the world – the strongest of which are on our doorstep. As we once again see coronavirus cases rise, we must sadly ask some people not to come to Wales at this time.
This week we will introduce new rules that mean people living in coronavirus hotspots in the UK will not be able to travel to Wales, so that they do not bring the virus with them.
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I want to be clear: these regulations do not create a new border between Wales and the rest of the UK where there was none before. This is not a ban on people entering Wales. These are not the actions of some nationalist Welsh government asserting independence from the UK. And this is not the result of any sort of anti-English sentiment.
These regulations are an inevitable consequence of the prime minister’s refusal to act to protect people in England and other parts of the UK from coronavirus.
In Wales we took early action to prevent coronavirus spreading from areas where the virus is high to areas where it is low. Large parts of Wales are under local restrictions because the virus is spreading quickly – we take action when the rate rises above 50 cases per 100,000 people. People living in these parts are not able to travel beyond their local health protection zone – usually their county boundary – without a reasonable excuse, such as for work or education.
These local rules, including travel restrictions, have helped prevent the virus being exported to other parts of the country; but people have been able to travel to Wales, including from other hotspot areas in the UK.
For many weeks I have been asking the prime minister to follow our lead and introduce mandatory travel restrictions in the areas of England where infection rates are high. I have asked him to add travel to the list of local lockdown measures, because we know that coronavirus is a sociable disease. Wherever people go, the virus likes to go too; wherever people mingle and congregate, so does the virus.
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