Prime Minister reveals major change to Welsh Government advice on international travel

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Photo by Welsh Government

The Prime Minister has revealed a major change in the Welsh Government’s advice on international travel.

The government has advised people to only travel abroad if the trip is “essential”, but in a statement Mark Drakeford said that would no longer be the case.

He said it is possible to change the advice due to the success of the vaccination program.

The advice will now be for ‘all those considering booking trips abroad to consider their own personal and family circumstances and how best to protect themselves’ and that vulnerable people should ‘take extra precautions to stay safe’. security”.

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford MS said: ‘Throughout the pandemic we have taken a precautionary approach to international travel due to the risks of contracting coronavirus abroad and importing new forms of the virus in the UK.

“We advised people to only travel abroad if their trip is essential and urged people to consider a holiday in the UK.

“Thanks to the success of our fantastic vaccination programme, the vast majority of adults in Wales have now completed the primary two-dose course of the Covid-19 vaccine. In addition, more than 1.8 million adults benefit from the additional protection of a booster dose or, in the case of immunocompromised adults, a third primary dose, providing essential additional protection against the omicron variant.

“Around the world, efforts to vaccinate the global population continue. The World Health Organization recently reported that a shipment of 1.1 million Covid-19 vaccines to Rwanda included the billionth dose supplied through COVAX. However, we recognize that in many parts of the world much more needs to be done to increase access to Covid-19 vaccines and the roll-out of vaccinations.

“As we move beyond the Omicron wave of Covid-19, we will also see greater opportunity for individuals to take back decision-making based on their own circumstances. Based on this, and due to the success of vaccination discussed above, we will no longer be advising people to travel abroad only if their trip is essential.

“Instead, we are asking anyone considering booking trips abroad to consider their own personal and family circumstances and how best to protect themselves if they decide to travel abroad this year. . We urge everyone who is vulnerable to take extra precautions to stay safe.

“If You Plan”

The Prime Minister said that if you plan to travel abroad you should:

  • Check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website for entry requirements specific to the country you are traveling to – these include Covid-19 vaccines and testing requirements.
  • Check the specific requirements for children and young people under 18 in the country you are traveling to.
  • Check the coronavirus situation in the country you are traveling to before travelling.
  • Stay safe while you’re away by following the same measures that help you stay safe when you’re home.
  • Check and follow the entry requirements to return home to the UK – these are available on the Welsh Government website.
  • Once you return home, consider taking extra precautions to keep yourself and your friends and family safe, including performing a lateral flow test before visiting vulnerable family members; space out visits and social events and if you have symptoms of coronavirus, self-isolate and get tested.
  • We continue to raise concerns with the UK government about the speed with which it has removed public health protections related to international travel and the gradual erosion of these protections.

“The dismantling of the international arrival monitoring system in particular leaves a major gap in future protections. We continue to advocate a more cautious approach to maintaining these public health protections due to the ongoing risk of importing new variants of Covid-19 through international travel.

“However, given the significant practical difficulties associated with the divergence of arrangements in England in this area – a significant number of Welsh travelers use English airports and ports – we are reluctantly maintaining alignment with decisions taken by the UK Government. and accepted by other decentralized governments.

“Risk of new variants”

The Prime Minister also said that upon alignment, the Welsh Government will take the following steps to help reduce the risk of new variants being imported in the future. They are:

  • Implement measures to encourage travelers arriving in Wales to take a lateral flow test, as well as a follow-up PCR test in the event of a positive result.
  • Maintain clear advice and guidance for international travellers.
  • Continue to press the UK government to maintain a robust surveillance system in the UK that uses our excellent sequencing system of positive test results to monitor variants and quickly assess their effects.
  • When a new variant of concern is detected, press quick action to slow the spread in the UK and allow as much time as possible for protections to be implemented.
  • Emphasize that the effectiveness of vaccine doses and the time after which additional doses would be needed to provide protection in the context of international travel remain under review.
  • Following these changes, travelers arriving fully vaccinated will not be required to take a test on or before day two and travelers arriving unvaccinated will not be required to take a test on day eight or self-isolate for 10 days after their arrival.

From 4 a.m. on Friday February 11:

  • Fully vaccinated passengers (who have completed their full primary courses) will no longer require a pre-departure test two days before traveling to the UK. The only requirement will be that they complete a passenger locator form;
  • Unvaccinated travelers or ineligible travelers must complete a passenger locator form, a pre-departure test within two days of their scheduled departure and an arrival PCR test performed on or before the second day;
  • Anyone under 18, regardless of their vaccination status, can now enter the UK without a pre-departure test. However, if you are traveling abroad with children, we urge you to check the different requirements for children, including whether they need to be fully vaccinated.

Vaccination certificates issued by the vast majority of countries are now recognized, with 16 more countries being added to this list.

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