Passengers arriving into Wales from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before departing to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally, Health Minister, Vaughan Gething has confirmed.
From 4am Monday 18th January 2021, inbound passengers arriving by boat, plane or train from countries outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing the country they are in, to help protect against the new strains of coronavirus such as those seen in Brazil, Denmark and South Africa.
The introduction of the measures is in response to the changes seen in the transmission of the virus both in in the UK and across the globe.
Pre-departure testing will provide an additional layer of safety from imported cases of coronavirus on top of the mandatory 10 day quarantine for arrivals, helping identify people who may currently be infectious and preventing them from travelling to Wales.
A negative pre-departure test reduces the risk of someone travelling whilst infectious, acting as another safeguard to prevent imported infections.
Passengers arriving from countries not on the Welsh Government’s Travel Corridor list must continue to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their pre-departure test result, to provide further robust protection from those travelling from high-risk countries.
Prior to departure, passengers will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to carriers, as well as their Passenger Locator Form.
The move further bolsters existing protective measures which helped to safely enable international travel last year, with self-isolation for new arrivals and Travel Corridors remaining critical in reducing the risk of imported cases from high-risk countries.
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
“We are doing everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus.
“These new measures will help ensure we prevent new strains of the virus developing internationally from being imported into Wales.
“We are already asking passengers returning from high-risk countries to self-isolate for 10 days and these requirements remain in place.
“Added to the requirement to self-isolate, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we continue to roll-out the vaccine at pace.”
Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions, which came into force on 18 December 2020, remain in place meaning everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work.
Travelling for a holiday is not permitted under alert level 4, whether that is in Wales, elsewhere in the UK or overseas.