The Welsh travel ban begins tonight.
Bad news if you were planning a Welsh getaway anytime soon: as of 6pm tonight (Friday, October 16), anyone travelling from parts of England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland with high rates of coronavirus won’t be able to enter Wales. For England, where the three-tier system was unveiled earlier this week, that means any places at Tier 2 (high alert) or Tier 3 (very high alert) will be subject to the ban. And since Glasgow is under a 16-day ‘circuit breaker’ of tight restrictions that includes us too.
The Welsh government is reportedly weighing plans to introduce a fortnight-long “circuit breaker” lockdown, a decision which is likely to be made on Monday, per the BBC (Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also come under increasing pressure to follow suit, but remains committed to the tiered approach for now). Ahead of such a move, however, Wales is taking steps to limit the spread by introducing the travel ban from areas with high caseloads, which was first proposed on Wednesday.
There has been no formal response from @BorisJohnson to my requests to restrict travel into Wales from coronavirus hotspots.
I am preparing new regulations to protect the health of people in Wales that will come into force on Friday.
— Mark Drakeford (@fmwales) October 14, 2020
The travel ban will be enforced by police patrols along the main entry routes to Wales, along with number plate checks and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras to track those who’ve travelled long distances. Fines will be issued for those breaking the travel rule, but those travelling to Wales for work from high coronavirus areas will still be allowed to enter. The Police Federation of England and Wales has expressed concerns that the ban is “unenforceable”, with police forces already stretched and the situation changing quickly across the country.
However difficult it may be to enforce, the sad truth is that these measures are beginning to look necessary once more; at a press conference earlier today, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford revealed that the nation’s caseload has reached 100 per 100,000 people.