Drakeford "genuinely baffled" by PM on Covid travel restrictions

Cheryl Sanders
October 18, 2020

Drakeford told the BBC on Monday evening that he was offering Johnson "one final opportunity" to stop travel from high-prevalence areas before he uses the powers available to him.

The Welsh Government is finalising its regulatory approach to the travel restrictions which are planned to come into force on Friday October 16 at 6pm.

Labour's Mark Drakeford has declared that he is "genuinely baffled" by the Prime Minister's refusal to put in place measures to stop people travelling to Wales and other areas from coronavirus hotspots in England.

"Much of Wales is now subject to local restrictions, which mean people living in these local health protection areas are not able to travel beyond their county boundaries without a reasonable excuse".

"We also recognise that this is a particularly hard time for children and young people and we will also amend the regulations to allow children to leave their local health protection areas to play sport or participate in other activities such as drama or dance classes which are so important to their mental and physical health and wellbeing".

Mr Drakeford said his government will look at the COVID-19 figures in Wales during the rest of the week before deciding whether such a step is required.

The new travel regulations will enable people to travel for a limited number of reasons, such as for work.

The previous day, Drakeford said that "people from high-Covid areas shouldn't travel to low-Covid areas anywhere in the United Kingdom." .

First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said that she supports the action called for by Drakeford, revealing that she had received a letter from the Welsh Labour leader on the issue.

In its basic form, the act allows Welsh ministers to make laws "for the objective of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection or contamination in Wales".

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart meanwhile has called for clarification from Wales' First Minister, Mark Drakeford, on the measures.

Speaking to Kay Burley, Mr Drakeford said a "circuit breaking period" could be the "most effective way of turning back the tide of coronavirus".

"We all have a shared responsibility to protect the NHS, please use your common sense and help us together to protect our communities and save lives".

"I never wanted this to become an issue of the border and people travelling in and out of Wales".

The first minister added: "This is not about stopping people from England coming to Wales".

The ban is aimed at people living in areas of England, Scotland and the north of Ireland with high levels of Covid-19.

People living in the central belt of Scotland and this living in Northern Ireland will also be banned.

Mr Bleasdale said: "There will also be plenty of individuals travelling legitimately from areas which are not high risk, and this will only add to the other difficulties officers face when policing the existing regulations".

"To keep Wales safe, we are introducing these new, wider travel regulations to make it clear that people living in areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland can not travel to parts of Wales where there is low prevalence".

Other reports by iNewsToday