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.
Advice which has now been received from the Joint Biosecurity Centre indicates that it is difficult to fully assess the public health risk posed by the incidence and spread of variant strains of coronavirus. On the basis of this advice and with a view to taking a four nations approach in relation to international travel, I have decided that enhanced measures need to be introduced to manage those risks.
These enhanced measures include a new testing system is in place for persons aged 5 years or over arriving into Wales (subject to a limited number of exemptions), requiring them to book and undertake testing on day 2 and 8 of their isolation period. Failure to do so will be a criminal offence, liable to a fine. Failure to undertake both tests will also mean that the isolation period is extended to 14 days.
Moreover, further measures are being taken in relation to countries that have already been identified as an enhanced risk due to links with variant strains of coronavirus (“red list countries”) in order to further protect against the risk of community transmission of variant stains. This includes prohibiting a person who has been in a red list country in the last 10 days from entering Wales from 4am on 15 February. Failure to comply with this restriction will be a criminal offence, liable to a fine. Should such travellers arrive at a designated port in England or Scotland, they will be required to enter into a managed quarantine period in accordance with the regulations in force there which come into force on Monday 15 February 2021.
For arrivals from “amber list countries” sectoral exemptions apply for certain categories of workers for which no isolation is required. These are being made more restrictive and will be amended to become sectoral exceptions which means that isolation is required but a person may leave that isolation for a limited period for work purposes.
Amendments are also being made to the list of sporting events to remove those have taken place and add those that are scheduled over the next few months.
The necessary regulations will come into force at 04:00 hours Monday 15 February.