Breaking- Welsh Government announce major changes to international travel rules

Simon Calder says NHS certificate issues are ‘so sad’

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The new rules will bring Wales in line with the other UK nations which announced travel changes over a week ago. However, the Welsh Government is unlikely to scrap PCR tests at the same time as the UK.

The Welsh Government tweeted: “We’re merging the green and amber travel lists, and removing pre-departure testing if you’re fully vaccinated.

“This is in line with other UK nations. We continue to urge UK Government to keep day 2 PCR tests for returning travellers to help spot dangerous variants.” 

The changes to the Welsh system will come into place on October 4, the same date that pre-departure tests will be scrapped in England. 

Merging the green and amber lists will make travel a lot for Welsh people who have been subject to harsher rules than the rest of the UK. 

The Welsh Government is unlikely to get rid of PCR tests as they do not yet feel it is safe to do so. 

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We have regularly called for a careful approach to international travel to prevent coronavirus being re-imported into the UK.

“Especially new and emerging variants which may not respond to the vaccines.

“The decision to move away from PCR tests from returning travellers on day two is concerning.

“This test, combined with genetic sequencing of all positive tests, is a vital part of our surveillance for coronavirus and protects our borders from the virus. 

‘We recognise the communication and enforcement challenges in having different testing requirements, and continue to thoroughly examine the evidence for a Wales-only testing regime. 

“But the strongest solution to protect public health is for the UK Government to reinstate UK-wide testing.” 

The Welsh Government said it still advises against all non-essential international travel. 

Some were unhappy with the new changes. Tweeter Franny, said: “You mean those PCR tests that are taking up to a week to return results? 

“So potentially infected people are mixing for up to a week, possibly spreading the virus. All because you’re more interested in playing petty political games.” 

First Minister Mark Drakeford had accused the UK Government of taking a “step away from duty” over its approach to international travel. 

He said switching PCR tests for lateral flows later in October was “the most concerning thing of all”. 

The Welsh Government has led calls for the UK to reverse its decision on day two PCR tests but it is very likely to go ahead. 

Although the merging of the amber and green lists will bring Wales more in line with the rest of the UK, Wales is unlikely to make any changes on PCR tests. 

Some Welsh people had complained the rules were unfair as they had to buy PCR tests from the NHS until recently. The NHS tests were often more expensive than private companies. 

Anyone travelling abroad from Wales is advised to check the Government website for the latest travel advice.

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