Welsh Government ‘extremely disappointed’ as UK Transport Secretary removes final Covid travel restrictions
The Welsh Government has said that it is “extremely disappointed” after the UK Government announced that all Covid travel restrictions would be removed in time for the Easter holidays.
Passenger locator forms and the requirement that unvaccinated people be tested for COVID-19 before and after their arrivals will end Friday to make going on holiday easier.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes meant that people “can travel just like in the good old days.”
But Health Minister Eluned Morgan said that she was “extremely disappointed the UK Government is planning to remove all the remaining border measures, including removing the passenger location form (PLF) and testing requirements”.
The announcement was made as coronavirus infections were rising in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Eluned Morgan said that due to the “significant practical difficulties associated with diverging from the arrangements in England” Wales would “reluctantly” align itself with them.
But she warned that the pandemic was “not over” and there was “a risk new variants of concern may emerge and we need to be prepared for this eventuality”.
“We believe the UK must collectively maintain an operable suite of border health measures, including pre-departure tests, flight bans, home isolation and isolation hotels to help us manage coronavirus threats into the future and ensure all UK nations are able to respond quickly to any new and emerging threat – such as a new variant of concern entering the UK.
“A system of surveillance linked to international travel is vital to help us identify any new variant quickly and as early as possible. Previous decisions to amend the border health measures, led by the UK Government, have significantly limited our ability to respond effectively. And the decision by the UK Government not to fund a border surveillance programmes will significantly limit our ability to identify new coronavirus variants.
“As countries around the world scale back their testing and sequencing measures in the future, this ability to identify new variants diminishes even further.
“We continue to advocate a more precautionary approach towards retaining these public health protections because of the ongoing risk of importing new variants through international travel. ”
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