Health Minister slams UK Gov decision to open borders for millions of US and EU travellers
The Health Minister has slammed the UK Government’s decision to allow fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and US into England without isolating.
Eluned Morgan MS said the Welsh Government “regretted” the proposals to scrap some quarantine requirements, and warned of “clear public health risks”, but added that Wales would do the same despite this.
She argued that it would be “ineffective to introduce separate arrangements for Wales” because it shares an open border with England.
The changes to rules for international travel will come into force from August 2.
The Health Minister said: “Today the UK Government has decided to permit travellers from the EU and US who have been fully vaccinated to visit the UK without having to self-isolate on arrival.
“There remain clear public health risks posed by re-opening international travel and removing quarantine restrictions to US and EU fully vaccinated amber arrivals at this time.
“Without self-isolation requirements upon arrival there is a higher risk of importing cases and variants of concern (VoCs) from abroad.
She added: “Vaccines will reduce this risk, but only if they are effective against VoCs. This is why we continue to caution against international travel for non-essential reasons this summer.
“We regret the UK Government’s proposals to further remove quarantine requirements. However, as we share an open border with England it would be ineffective to introduce separate arrangements for Wales.
“Therefore, we will be aligning with the other UK administrations and implementing this decision for Wales. We look to the UK Government to provide assurances that processes will be in place to ensure those travelling in to the UK have been fully vaccinated.
“Also, in doing so, we will continue to press the UK Government for reassurances that it will be maintaining consistent and robust PCR surveillance – including pre-departure tests, PCR testing on day 2 and the genomic sequencing of results as one mitigation against importing vaccine escape variants.”