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 14 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.
Today I reviewed the latest JBC assessments and I have decided that Israel, Botswana, Mauritius and the Seychelles will be removed from the list of exempt countries and territories. Travellers from these countries will be required to isolate on arrival in Wales.
On 23 December, the Secretary of State for Transport reported that a new variant of Covid-19 has been detected in South Africa. A decision was taken by the UK Government to implement further travel restrictions on arrivals from South Africa. Most flights from South Africa route through airports in England.
Today the Secretary of State for Transport has decided to maintain the current measures on South Africa and extend equivalent measures to other countries which includes Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, and also for the Seychelles and Mauritius.
I have therefore decided that action should be taken to remove the sectoral exemptions for travellers arriving from these countries. All travellers arriving into Wales who have been in these countries 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.
A further amendment will be made such that direct flights from these countries will no longer be able to land in Wales.
Tomorrow I will lay the necessary regulations which will come into force at 04:00 on Saturday 9 January 2021.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.