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Covid test changes for international travel to Wales

PEOPLE travelling to Wales will no longer have to take a coronavirus test before setting off, providing they are fully vaccinated.

Health minister Eluned Morgan has announced that the Welsh Government has “reluctantly” changed the rules for travellers, bringing Wales in line with elsewhere in the UK.

Fully vaccinated travellers, and those aged under 18, will now have to take a Lateral Flow Test on day two after their arrival, and – if positive – must take a follow-up PCR test.

The requirement to self-isolate until a negative test has been received has also been removed.  

This will come into force from 4am on Friday, January 7.

Previously, arrivals in Wales had to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two after arrival.

The requirements for non-vaccinated travellers remain unchanged. 

“We are concerned at the speed at which the UK Government is re-opening international travel, given ongoing concerns of importing new variants and adding additional pressure to our health services,” said Ms Morgan.

“Day two PCR testing acts as something of a surveillance system for international travel. If we had retained the requirement for a day two 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.

“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.

“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.”

The vaccination programmes in the following countries will now be recognised in Wales from 4am on Monday, January 10:

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.

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