Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Regulations relating to International Travel
Members will be aware that the Welsh Government made provision in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2021 which amended the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (“the International Travel Regulations”).
The changes to the International Travel Regulations mean that passengers are now required to book and pay for coronavirus tests to be taken on day 2 and day 8 after arriving in Wales, if they have travelled from non-exempt countries which are outside the common travel area. Persons are also now prohibited from entering Wales from outside the common travel area if they have visited a red list country in the last 10 days, unless they are exempt persons as prescribed in the International Travel Regulations. These additional restrictions came into force on 15 February 2021.
Today, I have laid the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Operator Liability and Public Health Information to Travellers) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. These Regulations are required to implement corresponding duties on operators. They will amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Public Health Information for Persons Travelling to Wales etc.) Regulations 2020 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel, Pre-Departure Testing and Operator Liability) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations.
Regulations for Public Health Information
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Public Health Information for Persons Travelling to Wales etc.) Regulations 2020 (“the Public Health Information Regulations”) require operators of international passenger services coming from outside the common travel area to an airport, heliport or seaport in Wales to provide passengers using those services with prescribed public health information. This information relates to measures being taken in the United Kingdom in response to the incidence and spread of coronavirus, including the measures required by the International Travel Regulations.
The Regulations laid today amend the Public Health Information Regulations to require operators to inform passengers before they travel of the new duty to arrange post arrival tests in accordance with the International Travel Regulations. In accordance with the amendments, operators will also provide information in relation to the Managed Quarantine requirements that apply elsewhere in the UK. This additional information will have be provided to passengers when they make a booking, when they check-in and 24 to 48 hours prior to travelling. The regulations laid to today also amend the on-board announcement that is made during journeys into Wales so that passengers are provided with up to date information on the public health restrictions that apply in Wales.
The Operator Liability Regulations
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel, Pre-Departure Testing and Operator Liability) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 currently place an obligation on operators of international passenger services coming to Wales from outside the common travel area to ensure that passengers travelling on those services are in possession of a negative coronavirus test result.
The Regulations laid today amend the Operator Liability Regulations by imposing additional obligations on operators. Operators will now also be required to check that persons arriving into Wales from outside the Common Travel Area on a commercial transport service via a seaport, heliport or airport in Wales have, before they arrive in Wales, made arrangements to take coronavirus tests on days 2 and 8 after their arrival in Wales.
Operators will also now be required to take reasonable steps to ensure that persons, who are not exempt persons, do not arrive on a transport service to a port in Wales from outside the common travel area if they have been in a red list country in the past 10 days. A red list country is a country or territory listed in Schedule 3A to the International Travel Regulations. For the purpose of this obligation, transport services include not only international passenger services but also private flights.
It will be an offence for an operator to be in breach of either of these new obligations unless they have a defence as set out in the regulations. A fixed penalty notice can be offered in lieu of prosecution for these offences, and the amount of the fixed penalty notice is set at £1,000 for each separate offence.
The amendments being made by the Regulations being laid today will come into force at 4.00am on the 20 February 2021.