The Welsh Government is “actively considering” imposing quarantine restrictions on people travelling into Wales from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus.
First Minister Mark Drakeford had previously called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce travel restrictions for people in areas of England under local lockdown.
People living in parts of Wales subject to local restrictions must not enter or leave that area without a reasonable excuse – which does not include travelling for a holiday.
Health minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference: “We’re actively considering what we should do and I’ve discussed it this morning with the First Minister.
“We have quarantine regulations for international travel.
“So for some of the hotspot areas in the north of England, the north east and north west, and the West Midlands, if they were other countries or territories, we would have quarantine regulations for them to return to the UK.”
The weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases has soared in dozens of areas of England, following the addition of nearly 16,000 cases that went unreported because of a technical error with an Excel spreadsheet.
Manchester now has the highest rate in England, with 2,740 cases recorded in the seven days to October 1 – the equivalent of 495.6 cases per 100,000 people, up from 223.2 in the previous week.
In a letter to Boris Johnson last week, Mark Drakeford expressed concern about people living in such areas being able to travel long distances, potentially “spreading the virus well beyond their locality”.
We do know that travel brings with it additional risks.
On Monday, Vaughan Gething said he was disappointed not to receive a response from Mr Johnson.
“The measures we’ve introduced in Wales are about isolating areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus, and protecting lower prevalence areas too.
“That rationale is consistent with the approach that all four UK nations have taken to international travel and quarantine restrictions.
“It’s disappointing that we haven’t had response to the First Minister’s letter, but we’ve seen the interview with the Prime Minister where he indicated he’s not prepared to do that at this point in time, so we then have to consider our own responsibility and powers.”