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Written Statement: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Amendments (6 November 2020)

Members will be aware that the Welsh Government made provision in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020 to ensure that travellers entering Wales from overseas countries and territories must isolate for 14 days and provide passenger information, to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.  These restrictions came into force on 8 June 2020.

On 10 July, the Welsh Government amended these Regulations to introduce exemptions from the isolation requirement for a list of countries and territories, and a limited range of people in specialised sectors or employment who may be exempted from the isolation requirement or excepted from certain provisions of the passenger information requirements.

Since then these Regulations have been kept under review and a number of changes to the list of exempt countries and territories have been made.

Yesterday I received a letter from Grant Schapps Secretary of State for Transport informing me that Health authorities in Denmark had reported widespread outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in mink farms, with subsequent spread of a mink-variant virus to the local community. At least seven unique mutations have been identified in the virus in mink. One of these virus variants, with four changes in the spike protein, has been found on five mink farms and in 12 people in the surrounding community.

The four CMOs met last night to discuss this development, as a result of which it was decided that action should be taken to remove Denmark from the list of exempt countries and territories with effect from 04:00am today, Friday 6 November. Regulations giving effect to that change came into force at 04:00am this morning. Travellers arriving into Wales from Denmark after this time will be required to follow the isolation and other requirements set out in the Regulations.

This removal is in addition to the removal of Germany and Sweden from the list of exempt countries and territories, which will come into force at 04:00am on Saturday 7 November as set out in the Written Statement published yesterday.

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