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Drakeford lifts foreign holiday restrictions

WELSH ministers are no longer advising people to avoid foreign holidays for the first time since pandemic restrictions started in March 2020.

This change is due to the high number of vaccinations and the dwindling effects of the Omicron wave.

In March 2020 the UK government issued warnings against non-essential foreign travel, but has since relaxed this advice.

Welsh ministers continued to advise against foreign travel.

“We will no longer advise people to only travel overseas if their journey is essential,” said First Minister Mark Drakeford.

The First Minister said that the advice from the Welsh Government was for everyone “to think of their own personal and family circumstances and how best they can keep themselves safe if they decide to travel abroad this year”.

“As we move beyond the Omicron wave of Covid-19 we will also see a greater opportunity for individuals to return to making decisions based on their own circumstances,”.

“On that basis, and because of the vaccination success set out above, we will no longer advise people to only travel overseas if their journey is essential.”

This update to official advice means that from Friday, February 11, travellers coming into Wales who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to take a Covid test 48 hours before arriving in the country. 

Mark Drakeford has repeatedly criticised the UK government for relaxing testing for travellers returning to the UK, but the First Minister conceded that the “practical difficulties” of attempting a different approach here in Wales meant that ministers here are “reluctantly retaining alignment” with decisions made in Westminster.

Mr. Drakeford went on to say that: “We continue to raise our concerns with the UK government about the speed at which it has removed public health protections in relation to international travel and the progressive erosion of such protections.”