1. ITV Report

Concerns around people travelling to second homes in north Wales during coronavirus outbreak

An MP is urging holiday home and caravan owners to stay away from their second properties during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville Roberts is urging the Welsh Government to issue a no travel directive as she believes a large number of holiday home owners have already moved into second homes believing they will be safer as the Covid-19 pandemic takes hold.

The Plaid Cymru politician is calling for the Welsh Government to issue a directive advising people against travelling to their second homes and caravan parks as concerns mount about the pressure an influx in population will have on GP surgeries and local NHS services.

Mrs Saville Roberts is calling for a directive advising people against travelling to their second homes

Mrs Saville Roberts said the government should designate such travel plans as “non-essential” and those considering self-isolating should do so at their main home where they are likely to be closer to family support networks.

She said, “I am extremely concerned at reports of a substantial increase in the population of areas in Pen Llŷn since last weekend, with holiday homes which are usually empty at this time of year now being occupied.”

“It is highly likely the virus is already established in the population of Gwynedd, but the lack of testing means no cases have yet been recorded. People who have holiday homes in the area are seeing Gwynedd as being free of coronavirus and deciding to relocate here.

“Plaid Cymru has repeatedly called on the Welsh Government to re-start voluntary testing to track the geographic spread of the disease, as is being done in Scotland. This is also the advice being communicated by the World Health Organisation.”

Her calls have been echoed by GP Dr Eilir Hughes.

Dr Hughes said, “I am extremely concerned by the high influx of tourists and second home owners who have clearly flooded into the area over the last week, with the intention of staying here for the time being.

“There is evidence that a significant amount of people who own holiday homes and static caravans have decided to travel down under the impression they’d be safe here.

“We must also consider the age of those travelling into the area. They are often retired meaning they are likely to be of an age which puts them at a greater risk of COVID-19. It is likely they have also increased the viral load within our community.

“We have already been approached by second home owners demanding services within our practices. Indeed, some are here to self-isolate but are seen out and about in cafes and restaurants.

“As a group of practices serving the area we would urge visitors and second home owners to stay put at their primary residence. We are not sufficiently resourced to deal with this extra demand during these unprecedented circumstances.”

The Welsh Government have been asked to comment.