Wales breaks away from England self-isolation rules on tourists from Greek islands and Portugal
Tourists coming back from some Greek islands and Portugal must self-isolate, Wales’ Health Minister has said.
Vaughan Gething said the change was due to a large number of cases of coronavirus have been imported into Wales from tourists returning from the Greek islands, in particular.
But Grant Shapps, the UK Government Transport Secretary, said that Portugal would not be removed from England’s quarantine-free travel corridor list even though Covid-19 cases in the country had soared over the last week.
The changes in Wales come after at least 16 people tested positive following a TUI flight from Zante to Cardiff Airport last week.
Vaughan Gething said that Portugal, apart from the Azores and Madeira, Gibraltar, French Polynesia and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos and Crete would be removed from the list of exempt countries and territories.
“Members will be aware that the UK Government made provision to ensure that travellers entering the United Kingdom from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days, to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. These restrictions came into force on Monday 8 June 2020,” Vaughan Gething said.
“On 10 July, the Welsh Government amended the 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.
“I have also considered the clear advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) report that travel from the following countries and territories constitutes a public health risk. I have decided to remove mainland Portugal (the Azores and Madeira will remain exempt), Gibraltar, French Polynesia and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos and Crete from the list of exempt countries and territories.
“I will lay the necessary regulations which will come into force at 04:00 on Friday 4 September.
“This action is being taken as a result of a large number of cases of coronavirus have been imported into Wales from tourists returning from the Greek islands, in particular. In the last week, there have been more than 20 cases confirmed in passengers on one flight from Zante to Cardiff.
“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.”