No plans yet for Wales to follow Scotland’s lead and ban travel to and from variant hotspots in England
Wales does not have any plans to follow Scotland’s lead and ban travel to and from English Covid hotspots, according to the new Welsh Health Minister.
However, Eluned Morgan said that they were keeping the situation under review.
Scotland’s First Minister announced over the weekend that a temporary travel ban between Scotland and Covid hotspots in England would come into force from today.
Cases of the B.1.617.2 variant, first detected in India, rose from 1313 to 3424 in England in the week to 19 May.
In response, Nicola Sturgeon announced travel restrictions to Bedford, Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, which are currently subject to enhanced health protection measures due to the spread of the more transmissible so-called ‘Indian’ variant.
In contrast Eluned Morgan said that there was “no decision to restrict travel to hotspots to England”. However they were “constantly keeping the situation under review”, she said.
She also said that Wales was “so far ahead” on vaccination that they did not as of yet feel any need to redistribute vaccines to some communities or age groups due to the new variant.
“At the moment we don’t see the need to bring forward vaccines but we will keep it in mind as we see any increase in the Indian variant,” she said.
Wales’ Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton added that the majority of the 57 cases of the new variant were in the Cardiff and the Vale Health Board area. However every health board area had seen cases apart from Powys, he said.
He said that all cases s far were clusters traceable back to the point of entry. “If you look over border into England and Scotland there is broader community transmission, which is much more difficult to contain,” he said.
“Wales is managing clusters around points of entry. They are dotted around in Wales.”