Travellers from Covid hotspots in England ‘very welcome’ in Wales but must ‘behave carefully’, Drakeford says
Mark Drakeford had said that he doesn’t want to impose travel restrictions on people from Covid hotspots in England coming to Wales and that they’re “very welcome” in the country.
However, he conceded that “there is a very realistic prospect” that the new Delta variant will spread into Wales due to the fact that it was “spreading quickly” in the north west of England.
Scotland banned travel from English hotspots two weeks ago, but Mark Drakeford said there were no similar plans in Wales, although he conceded that the spread of the new variant into Wales was likely.
“We have to be realistic – the fact that the Delta variant is now spreading so quickly in the north west of England will mean that it will cross the border into Wales,” he said.
“The variant doesn’t see the border. And the amount of traffic that goes back and forth between the north east of Wales and the North West of England is very high every day. So there is a very realistic prospect that we will see that variant spreading into Wales.”
Presenter Naga Munchetty asked if he would therefore “like to be able to stop travellers from England coming to Wales, particularly from hotspots?”
Mark Drakeford answered: “No, I don’t think that is the position we are in at the moment. We have been in that position in the past. At the moment what we have asked people who come into Wales from those hotspot areas is, to behave carefully and responsibly.
“If they’re using lateral flow tests, to bring them with them. We can supply them ourselves here in Wales if they’re unable to do that. Because those individuals can act in ways that keep themselves safe and keeps other people safe at the same time.
“So we are very keen to welcome people to Wales. It’s the most beautiful day here today. And we know people will want to visit Wales. They’re very welcome. We ask them to be careful. To take all the precautions you would expect them to take. To keep themselves and other people safe.”
Mark Drakeford was then asked by Naga Munchetty whether it was a “big thing to reply on trust”.
“Because the reason we’ve seen these hotspots is because the behaviour of certain groups, certain individuals, hadn’t been in line with what we’ve been asked to do,” she said.
Mark Drakeford answered: “Well, look, we’ve got to take some optimism about the way people are prepared to behave. We faced this in Wales last summer when borders were open and visitors came to Wales in large numbers.
“And all the reports I saw at the time were that visitors to Wales were keen to play their part in keeping those local communities safe. That people did behave responsibly, that they did behave in ways that demonstrated that they were aware of risks and were taking actions themselves to mitigate them.
“That is what we expect will happen again this year. And provided people do all of that, they will have played their part in keeping Wales safe.”