Wales to close border to people from England's corona hotspots

People living in coronavirus hotspots in the UK will be banned from travelling into Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

It follows a row with Prime Minister Boris Johnson over whether parts of England should have travel restrictions in place.

Mr Drakeford accused the PM of ignoring two letters requesting he introduce the measure and said that action was needed to ‘to prevent the spread of infection within Wales and to other areas of the UK’.

The new restrictions are planned to come into force at 6pm on Friday. They apply to those living in Tier 2 and 3 areas in England, and high risk places in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon has backed Mr Drakeford’s calls to close borders within the UK.

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No10 has refused to do so, saying there was already ‘very clear guidance’ that people in the worst affected areas should avoid non-essential travel.

Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament that as Mr Johnson has not replied to his requests for travel restrictions, work would be brought forward to allow for devolved powers to be used.

He said he was implementing the measure ‘as a matter of fairness’.

‘Evidence from public health professionals suggests coronavirus is moving from east to west across the UK and across Wales,’ he said.

‘As a general rule, it is concentrating in urban areas and then spreading to more sparsely populated areas as a result of people travelling.’

Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price, who had been calling for movement from the Welsh Government, tweeted: ‘At last!’

But the move was criticised by the Welsh Conservative health spokesman Andrew RT Davies, who accused the Government of having an ‘unhealthy obsession’ with ‘banning the English’.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will write to the prime minister seeking urgent talks over UK-wide travel restrictions.

She called for a ‘sensible agreement’ between the four nations.

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