Last remaining international travel COVID rules to be scrapped on Friday
The announcement made today by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP is designed to ease restrictions ahead of the Easter holidays.
The Minister said on social media: “The decision means that “All remaining Covid travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, will be stood down for travel to the UK from 4am on 18 March.”
In a written statement, Welsh Government Health Minister Eluned Morgan expressed “disappointment” in the decision.
Ms Morgan said: “The pandemic is not over but we are moving to a different phase where we learn to live safely with coronavirus in the longer-term. There is still a risk new variants of concern may emerge and we need to be prepared for this eventuality. As the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) has outlined, there is no reason why future variants should be similarly or less severe than omicron.
“I am extremely disappointed the UK Government is planning to remove all the remaining border measures, including removing the passenger location form (PLF) and testing requirements.
“We know that if the PLF is withdrawn, it will take three weeks to recommission. This will make contingency testing and home isolation unworkable if we needed to monitor passengers from overseas, as we will no longer be know which travellers are arriving from areas of concern or their contact details.
“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.”
The Minister added: “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.
“However, in view of the significant practical difficulties associated with diverging from the arrangements in England in this area – a significant number of Welsh travellers use English airports and ports – we are reluctantly retaining alignment with the decisions made by the UK Government and agreed by the other devolved governments.
“As travel regulations and requirements have been removed, there is a greater opportunity for people to return to making decisions based on their own circumstances. On that basis, and because of the success of our vaccination programme, we no longer advise people to only travel overseas if their journey is essential.
“However, we still urge caution. Everyone considering booking a trip abroad should consider their own personal and family circumstances and how best they can keep themselves safe as they travel, especially those who are vulnerable.”
Police scale back search for missing Pembroke Dock man
Swansea man jailed for online child grooming offences
Welsh apprentices win £1m lottery prize
Swansea Council could be crowned best in UK
Neath firm sponsors Swansea boxer, Josh Kaighin as he kicks off his professional career
Young people honoured by Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed
Popular marina swing bridge to be upgraded
Welsh vineyards look to reduce synthetic chemicals in sustainability drive
Swansea bookstore to host crime fiction panel
Wales Air Ambulance Swansea apprentice celebrates qualification success
Fight on Neath train left so much blood in carriage it had to be taken out of service to be cleaned
New council houses completed in West Cross
Motor industry entrepreneurs promise city jobs boost in Swansea office expansion
Swansea University named happiest university in Wales – and third happiest in the UK, according to AI analysis
Milford Haven and Port Talbot joint Freeport bid successful
First Minister announces £750,000 fund for tidal lagoon research
New location announced for Swansea’s Krazy Races soapbox derby
Two hospitalised after Horton garage fire
Student design skills set to help city’s climate campaign
New pipe provides safe crossing for otters under busy Kidwelly road
Swansea3 days ago
Housing association set to transform empty Kingsway office building into new HQ and affordable flats
Business3 days ago
Brewery opens new Llanelli taproom and pizzeria thanks to ‘Town Centre Loan’
Swansea6 days ago
Leaked letter shows Council leaders concerned Welsh Government bus funding cuts will cut-off communities
Mumbles7 days ago
Mumbles lifeboat named busiest in Wales as RNLI issue funding Mayday call
Cardiff Airport7 days ago
Air France to reintroduce daily flights from Cardiff to Paris from April
Film & TV7 days ago
Welsh actor currently playing Churchill on TV admits: ‘I may be Churchill, but I’m no Richard Burton!’
Dyfed Powys Police3 days ago
Police investigate sudden death of Llanelli man
Pendine7 days ago
Residents and dignitaries get preview of new Pendine tourist accommodation, playground and Museum of Land Speed