People returning to Wales from abroad will have to pay for coronavirus tests before they travel, the Welsh Government has announced.
The move matches the approach of the UK government which is doing the same for people returning to England.
The decision means that from February 15 everyone coming back to the country will have to book and pay for a test, even if they are not coming from a ‘red list’ country.
From that date, everyone arriving in England from a ‘red list’ country will be required to isolate in designated hotels.
The move means anyone planning to travel on to Wales from England will also have to enter a designated hotel for quarantine in England, and that will need to be booked before travel.
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The new measures come as it has been revealed that the rate of infection from the virus is falling, but no longer as fast as it was in January.
More than 5,000 people have now died from coronavirus since the pandemic started.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have agreed to a four nation approach, and will be putting in place the same arrangements in Wales as the UK Government is doing for England.
“This will include all people returning to Wales from February 15 being required to book and pay for tests before they travel. This will be done through the UK portal, whether a person has been in a red list country or not.
“People returning to Wales from red list countries are doing so through other ports in the UK, primarily via England. From February 15, all arrivals in England will be required to isolate in designated hotels.
“This includes anyone planning to travel on to Wales, and they will need to enter a designated hotel for quarantine in England. This will need to be booked before travel.”
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The hotel accommodation will cost £1,750 per passenger. An online booking system will go live on Thursday.
Those who fail to quarantine in a government-sanctioned hotel for 10 days could face fines of up to £10,000, while those who lie about having been in red list countries could face up to 10 years in jail.
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford told the Senedd this afternoon that Wales wanted a “a stronger set of defences” at its borders, and added: “The UK Government’s red list is the bare minimum of what needs to be done to make sure that all the gains that are being made in suppressing the virus and vaccinating our population are not put at risk by people coming into the United Kingdom from other parts of the world where further new variants may already be in the brew”.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk