Written Statement: International Travel Changes
Statement by Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Due to the ongoing risks of coronavirus, including the recent and rapid emergence of the omicron variant, we continue to advise against all but essential international travel at this time.
Just a few weeks after its notification to the World Health Organisation, omicron has spread around the world and is now the dominant form of the virus in the UK.
In line with decisions being taken elsewhere in the UK, I have reluctantly agreed to remove the requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and under 18s to take a pre departure test (PDT) and a day 2 PCR test when arriving in the UK.
All fully vaccinated travellers will need to take an LFD test at day 2 and, if positive, a follow-up PCR test to enable genomic sequencing to be carried out. The requirement to self-isolate until a negative test has been received has also been removed.
The requirements for non-vaccinated travellers remain unchanged.
These changes will begin to come into force from 4am on Friday 7 January. Lateral flow tests will be accepted as post-arrival tests from 4am on Sunday 9 January.
We are concerned at the speed at which the UK Government is re-opening international travel, given on-going concerns of importing new variants and adding additional pressure to our health services.
Day 2 PCR testing acts as something of a surveillance system for international travel – if we had retained the requirement for a day 2 PCR test, we may have been alerted to the presence and introduction of omicron earlier.
Given the UK Government’s decision to remove PCR testing, it is vital we work across the four nations to ensure a system of bio-surveillance is maintained to provide a way of guarding against the importation of future variants.
I have also agreed to add the following to the list of countries and territories of recognised vaccination programmes;
Bhutan, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Fiji, Iraq and Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, North of Cyprus, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, The Gambia and Uzbekistan.
These changes will come into force at 4am on Monday 10 January.
While our public health system is working very hard to minimise the spread of cases already in Wales, it is imperative that we do everything we can to avoid undermining these efforts by importing new cases of coronavirus infections via international travel.
We continue to encourage everyone in Wales to get vaccinated including having a booster vaccine, which is vital in increasing protection against the omicron variant.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.
Latest News from
Welsh Government outline principles for a reformed justice system24/05/2022 16:25:00
The Welsh Government’s Counsel General and Minister for Social Justice have outlined the potential core components of a devolved justice system, and warned that the current Westminster-run system is “pulling the shutters down” on access to justice.
10-year plan launched to increase the number of Welsh-speaking teachers24/05/2022 15:25:00
The Welsh Government has yesterday published its 10-year plan to increase the number of school staff who can teach through the medium of Welsh.
Welsh universities change lives with artificial intelligence and data science24/05/2022 09:05:00
Welsh Government investment in universities collaborating in data science and artificial intelligence is changing lives and helping Wales become an international leader in the field. As part of the Digital Strategy for Wales, £500,000 of funding is being shared between 22 innovative projects.
Climate Change Minister’s message on International Day of Biodiversity is to ‘let it grow’23/05/2022 14:05:00
“We are in a nature emergency and now, more than ever, we must support our precious wildlife.”
Digital tools transforming kidney care in Wales23/05/2022 11:05:00
A new all-Wales digital system is helping people with chronic kidney disease manage their care through technology and cutting hospital visits.
£2.9 million boost for Wales’ Brilliant Basics, the little things which make a big difference to a holiday experience20/05/2022 15:10:00
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething has today announced £2.9 million from the Welsh Government’s Brilliant Basics capital fund will be shared among 18 projects that will help deliver small-scale infrastructure improvements in strategically important tourism locations across Wales.
Buzzing for World Bee Day20/05/2022 13:10:00
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has visited an award-winning honey producer in Builth Wells to celebrate World Bee Day which takes place today (Friday, 20 May).
Welsh Government response to publication of latest NHS Wales performance data19/05/2022 14:05:00
The Welsh Government has issued a statement on the latest NHS Wales performance data published today (Thursday, 19th May).
Work to improve urgent and emergency care picks up pace19/05/2022 11:05:00
New services are being developed to improve access to urgent and emergency care across Wales so people get the right care, in the right place, the first time.
Over £750,000 for libraries and museums in Wales19/05/2022 09:05:00
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, has visited Museum of Cardiff on International Museum Day to announce just over £750,000 of Welsh Government funding to help local libraries, museums to develop their facilities and services.