Welsh Government confirm travel restrictions for travellers to end on Friday, March 18

From Friday, travellers will no longer face coronavirus measures, regardless of whether they are flying out of Wales or England Credit: Visit Wales

All remaining coronavirus travel measures including passenger locator forms are set to end in Wales and for Welsh travellers on Friday.

The Welsh Government has said it intends to align its policy with an announcement made by the UK’s Transport Secretary in England earlier on Monday.

Grant Shapps said the UK Government will remove all remaining restrictions on international travel, including the requirement for unvaccinated people to be tested for coronavirus before entering the UK.

Transport is devolved to the Senedd, and the Welsh Government has said it will “reluctantly retaining alignment with the decisions made by the UK Government".

Cardiff Airport has seen passenger number drop significantly during the pandemic.

In a statement, the Welsh Government’s health and social services minister Eluned Morgan, said: “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“We know that if the PLF is withdrawn, it will take three weeks to recommission.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.  

“As countries around the world scale back their testing and sequencing measures in the future, this ability to identify new variants diminishes even further.

“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.”

The Welsh Government has had to follow the UK Government on foreign travel with many Welsh travellers flying out of English airports Credit: PA

After a meeting with senior UK ministers earlier on Monday, Grant Shapps, the UK Government’s transport secretary, said the measures will end for travel to the UK from 4am on Friday under the Government’s plans for “living with Covid”.

Mr Shapps said: “These changes are possible due to our vaccine rollout and mean greater freedom in time for Easter.”

The move comes as coronavirus infections were rising in all four UK nations for the first time since the end of January, with levels in Scotland already at a record high, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

The time-consuming passenger locator forms require people to fill in travel details, their address in the UK and vaccination status, and have been used to track people after outbreaks of the virus.

They are currently required by all arrivals coming to the UK from outside Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of Airlines UK – the industry body representing UK airlines, welcomed the announcement, saying it sends the message that “the UK travel sector is back”.

“With travellers returning to the UK no longer burdened by unnecessary forms and testing requirements, we can now look forward to the return to pre-Covid normality throughout the travel experience,” he added.