Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
Members will be aware that the Welsh Government made provision in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020 to ensure that travellers entering Wales from overseas countries and territories must isolate for 10 days and provide passenger information, to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. These restrictions came into force on 8 June 2020.
On 10 July, the Welsh Government amended these Regulations to introduce exemptions from the isolation requirement for a list of countries and territories, and a limited range of people in specialised sectors or employment who may be exempted from the isolation requirement or excepted from certain provisions of the passenger information requirements.
Since then these Regulations have been kept under review and a number of changes to the list of exempt countries and territories have been made, most recently to remove all countries and territories from this list on 18 January 2021.
Members will also be aware that enhanced isolation requirements have been introduced in relation to persons arriving into Wales from countries where public health concerns have identified in relation to the transmission of variant strains of coronavirus
Today I reviewed the latest JBC assessments and I have decided that the enhanced isolation requirements applying to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Mauritius and Seychelles should be maintained and reviewed in a further three weeks. In addition, due to the absence of data from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Republic of Tanzania and the fact that they both share borders with Zambia, I have decided that a precautionary approach should be taken and that these countries will be added to the list of countries subject to enhanced isolation requirements.
All travellers arriving into Wales who have been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Republic of Tanzania in the previous 10 days will be required to isolate for 10 days and will only be able to leave isolation in very limited circumstances. The same isolation requirements will also apply to all members of their household. These enhanced isolation requirements will also apply to persons already in Wales who have been in these countries in the last 10 days and members of their households.
New exceptions have also been introduced to the ban on the arrival in Wales of aircrafts and vessels travelling directly from a country or territory subject to enhanced isolation measures, so that their arrival is permitted in the following circumstances:
(1) aircraft which are landing for the purpose of refuelling or maintenance where no passengers board or disembark,
(2) aircraft which are an air ambulance and landing for the purpose if transporting a person for medical treatment, and
(3) vessels are required to moor pursuant to a safety direction issued as the result of an accident (under Schedule 3A to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995).
The necessary regulations will be made today and the additional measures applying to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Republic of Tanzania will come into force at 04:00 on Friday 22 January 2021.