‘No border controls with England’ says Drakeford as he prepares to relax ‘stay local’ rule

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government

Wales’ First Minister has said that he is “not attracted” to the idea of border controls with England despite the higher coronavirus rate there.

Mark Drakeford said that the restrictions on travelling more than five miles would be scrapped in two weeks and that tourists would return on 13 July.

However, he said that he trusted people in England to “think carefully” about how necessary their journeys were.

“I’m not attracted to the idea of border controls,” he said. “And often the differences in [levels of coronavirus] within England are more significant than the differences between England and Wales.

“People need to ask themselves, is my journey necessary? We want to see people behaving sensibly and responsibly. And I trust people on the England side to think as carefully as those in Wales.

“But if we all think it’s all over pile back into doing things as we always did them we will be throwing away efforts made together.”

 

‘Important’

There have been fears that parts of Wales that have so far seen few Coronavirus deaths would experience a second wave as a result of a large number of visitors from other parts of the UK and elsewhere.

Speaking on Radio Cymru this morning, Anglesey Council Leader Llinos Medi said it was important that there was no influx of tourism on the island.

“We’re all very aware of the tourism aspect in Anglesey and it’s extremely, extremely important that Mon’s gates aren’t opened to tourism straight away and that the public don’t forget the importance of all the guidelines to protect them,” she said.

Currently, people from elsewhere cannot visit Wales as the lockdown prevents travel over five miles over the border, as well as staying overnight away from their primary residence.

However, it was also announced today that the five-mile ‘rule of thumb’ will not apply if people travel on compassionate grounds.

The First Minister gave the example of a family member living alone beyond the local area, when the lockdown was having a poor impact on their welfare and well-being. That would count as a compassionate reason, he said.

“We will have to rely more and more on people making decisions for themselves,” he said.

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