Mark Drakeford urges travellers to test negative for Covid before entering Wales

People walk along the pier in Llandudno, Wales Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people from coronavirus hotspots not to travel into Wales over the bank holiday unless they test negative for Covid-19.

The Welsh Government said the message was directed at would-be holidaymakers including those from areas of England with high levels of the Indian variant in order to “help keep Wales safe”.

The UK Government has advised people living Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside to minimise travel out of their areas due to circulation of the mutated strain of Covid-19.

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

But Westminster has stopped short of restricting people from being able to travel out of the eight areas, with the late spring bank holiday weekend starting on Saturday.

On Wednesday Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told BBC Breakfast he would not ask people living in Bolton to “rip up plans” to travel to Wales but to “try to minimise travel”.

Later on Wednesday, Mr Drakeford said: “Our tourism businesses will be looking forward to a busy week and the start of the summer season.

“I urge anyone planning a break in Wales from an area with higher rates of coronavirus, to test themselves regularly, using the free Covid-19 lateral flow tests, before they travel.

“Only those who have a negative test result and no symptoms of coronavirus should travel.

“Everyone coming to Wales from areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus should bring lateral flow testing kits with them to continue regular testing while on holiday – this is an additional measure to help keep Wales safe.”

There are 57 cases of the India variant in Wales, far fewer than the 3,200 cases identified in England,

On Monday Wales’ chief medical officer Frank Atherton said the number of cases of the variant in Wales was an underestimate and is expected to rise.

The biggest number of cases of the variant are located in clusters around Cardiff, with others also located in Swansea and a “small number” in North Wales.

But unlike in England and Scotland there is no evidence of widespread transmissions of the variant from person-to-person in Wales, with all identified cases able to be traced back to a point of entry into the country.

Wales has the UK’s lowest seven-day infection rate at 8.9 per 100,000 of population.

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