Passengers arriving in Wales from abroad will have to show a negative coronavirus test result before they depart to help protect against new strains of coronavirus.
From 4am on Monday, January 18 inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train from countries outside the Common Travel Area will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Brazil, Denmark and South Africa.
It means that prior to departure, passengers will need to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test result to carriers, as well as their Passenger Locator Form.
The Common Travel area includes the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
The introduction of the measures is in response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both in in the UK and across the globe.
Welsh Government says that pre-departure testing will provide “an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10 day quarantine for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to Wales”.
Passengers arriving from countries not on the Welsh Government’s Travel Corridor list must continue to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their pre-departure test result, to provide further robust protection from those travelling from high-risk countries.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “We are doing everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus.
“These new measures will help ensure we prevent new strains of the virus developing internationally from being imported into Wales.
“We are already asking passengers returning from high-risk countries to self-isolate for 10 days and these requirements remain in place.
“Added to the requirement to self-isolate, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we continue to roll-out the vaccine at pace.”
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Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions, which came into force in Wales on December 18, remain in place meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.
Travelling for a holiday is not permitted under alert level 4, whether that is in Wales, elsewhere in the UK or overseas.
It comes as travellers from across South America have been banned from entering the UK amid growing concerns about the mutant coronavirus strain which emerged in Brazil.
The ban which, also covers the Central American state of Panama and Portugal – due to its strong travel links with Brazil – and the former Portuguese colony of Cape Verde, came into force at 4am on Friday.
Scientists analysing the Brazilian variant believe the mutations it shares with the new South African strain seem to be associated with a rapid increase in cases in locations where there have already been large outbreaks of the disease.
The UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described the ban as a “precautionary” move to ensure the vaccination programme rolling out across the UK was not disrupted by new variants of the virus.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk