Wales' first minister threatens to CLOSE border to England to keep coronavirus out of low-risk areas

THE WELSH first minister has threatened to CLOSE the border to England to keep new infections out of low-risk areas.

Mark Drakeford demanded this morning that people from Liverpool, who are in Tier 3 lockdown, should not be allowed to cross over into Wales where the infection rates are much lower and under control.

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He wrote to Boris Johnson yesterday demanding he ban people leaving areas with the worst infection rates or he will have to make the decision to close off people entering.

Mr Drakeford told Sky News this morning: "I simply want the Prime Minister to (ban people in high-risk areas from leaving) for England, so that people in Liverpool, where the virus is in far, far higher circulation than the rest of Wales, can't travel to holiday destinations in Wales, or to low-circulation areas in England.

"It is a simple, straightforward, practical action that prevents the flow of virus out of areas where there is a great deal of it, into areas where there is very little of it.

"I'm baffled why the Prime Minister continues to resist this idea."

Mr Drakeford said people who live in high-risk areas such as Cardiff are banned from moving around to areas where coronavirus infections are much lower.

He added: "All I'm asking is for what is fair, for people in high volume areas outside Wales not being able to do things that people in Wales who live in high coronavirus areas are already prevented from doing."

In his letter to Mr Johnson yesterday, the First Minister said the UK's "voluntary guidance approach" advising people not to leave areas had failed, and "firmer action is required."

He said: “Our efforts are being undermined by travellers from high-prevalence areas in other parts of the UK travelling to Wales.

"If you fail to introduce the sort of measures we have already introduced in Wales, it will make this an issue which will undermine rather than support the successful operation of the border region.

“It would be better if all four nations were to act in concert, but in the absence of an agreed way forward, I will act to keep Wales safe.”

Mr Drakeford stressed this was "not a border issue" about stopping people from England coming to Wales, but about stopping the virus spreading.

The infection rate in Cardiff, one of the worst in Wales, is 161.4 cases per 100,000.

That's compared to Liverpool's spiralling infection rate of 635.3 cases per 100,000.

Most people in Wales are unable to leave their county without a "reasonable excuse" such as work".

It means about two million people are unable to travel around to other parts of the UK.


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