UK Government advise minimal travel in and out of area straddling Welsh border due to rise in Delta variant
The UK Government has advised people to “minimise travel” in and out of areas of Chester West and Chester, a local authority that straddles the border with Wales, due to a rise in Delta variant Covid cases.
The borough will become an ‘Enhanced Response Area’, the UK Government has confirmed, which will also include more Covid support for surge testing, tracing, isolation and maximising vaccine uptake.
Chester West and Chester sit just over the border from Wrexham and Flintshire in the north of Wales. As part of the government guidance, residents are encouraged to “minimise travel in and out of the affected areas”, and continue to work from home if possible.
Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Having seen the substantial increase in transmission in our neighbours in Greater Manchester, it was sadly only a matter of time before the spread was to be seen across Cheshire given our strong links with friends and family, work and travel.”
Speaking at yesterday’s Welsh Government briefing, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said they were not yet considering any restrictions on travel from Delta variant hotspots in England and elsewhere into Wales.
“In terms of closing the border, the reality is that we have an open border already, we don’t have travel restrictions in place,” he said. “The UK Government has only given guidance for people in delta variant hotspots.
“Now, at this point in time we don’t think that there is a case for imposing travel restrictions. What we have shown in the past is if there is a case to protect public health here in Wales, then we’ll do so, either on the basis there being local restriction introduced in Wales, or having restrictions on travel into Wales and other parts of the UK where there have been hotspots.
“You recall at one point the whole of Northern Ireland was in that position, at other points in time parts of Scotland and England have been there too.
“This is still about learning about what works and what’s effective and at this point in time, we don’t have advice from our public health officials, or our scientific experts and advisors that it will be the right thing to protect public health in Wales to try to have impositions on travel between England and Wales.
“What we’re asking people to do it to behave sensibly and to look after themselves and people around them. That’s why the First Minister asked people who are coming to Wales and enjoying what Wales has to offer in this fantastic summer that we’re currently enjoying, to make sure they do the right thing, both in terms of if they got access to testing, but also about when you’re here, please be respectful and follow the rules in place that are here to keep all of us safe, and to make sure that business can continue to function successfully.”