Coronavirus: Can I visit Wales from a COVID-19 hotspot?

The Welsh government has released a list of exemptions for people travelling into the country from COVID-19 hotspots.

The Welsh travel ban was imposed on Friday evening by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, after repeated requests to Boris Johnson to impose travel restrictions in England for those living in towns and cities with a high number of cases.

Anyone living in the UK with high levels of COVID-19 is now unable to travel to the devolved nation “without a reasonable excuse”.

This includes Tier 2 and 3 areas in England, the central belt of Scotland, and all of Northern Ireland.

However, there are some exemptions.

In accordance with Welsh law, there are 18 “reasonable” reasons why travel from a COVID-19 hotspot may be permitted.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter she “fully” supports Wales’ decision.

She said: “These are public health decisions, and nothing to do with constitutional or political debates.”

Downing Street said the plans were “disappointing”.

Beyond the travel ban, rules could be getting tougher in Wales.

The country currently faces 17 local lockdowns affecting 2.3m people.

But, although the lockdowns have slowed the spread of the virus, Mr Drakeford said on Friday they had “not worked enough”.

He will be meeting with other members of the Welsh government over the weekend to discuss a circuit-breaker lockdown and will announce any decisions on Monday.

Speaking at the Welsh government’s news briefing on Friday afternoon, he said the option “is most actively under consideration” in order to reduce levels of COVID-19.

The circuit-break – or what he refers to as the “fire-break” – would be different to the first style of lockdown.

He said: “This would be a short, sharp shock to the virus which could turn back the clock, slowing down its spread and buying us more time and vital capacity in the health service.

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“But this time, it will be for weeks and not months. We are considering a two or three-week fire-break. The shorter the period, the sharper the measures will have to be.”

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland has entered the strictest rules in the UK so far – with pubs and restaurants closing for four weeks and with schools facing a two-week shutdown.

In Scotland all coronavirus restrictions and guidance remains in place for now – although face coverings must now be worn in workplace canteens and communal workplace areas like corridors.

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