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Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
14 December 2021
Last updated:

Due to the ongoing risks of coronavirus, including the recent and rapid emergence of the omicron variant, we continue to advise against all but essential international travel at this time.

In line with decisions being taken elsewhere in the UK, I have agreed to remove all 11 countries currently on the list from the red list.  These countries were added to the list following the emergence of the omicron variant.  Just three weeks after its notification to the World Health Organisation, omicron has spread around the world and is now well-established in the UK.

These changes will be introduced at 04:00 Wednesday 15 December.

It will be important to maintain the option of placing a country on the red list for international travel in the future and that these changes can be introduced quickly as a means of preventing new cases of coronavirus being imported into the UK when new variants of concern emerge.

We also need to retain the ability to quickly introduce contingency measures, such as managed quarantine hotels, in the event new variants of concern are identified.

It remains vitally important we continue to retain measures to prevent the importation of new coronavirus infections, such as pre-departure testing, which is essential to help prevent the spread of infection associated with travel.

Day 2 testing acts as something of a surveillance system for international travel – if we had retained the requirement for a day 2 PCR test, we may have been alerted to the presence and introduction of omicron as a result of international travel earlier. 

We continue to encourage everyone in Wales to get vaccinated including having a booster vaccine, which is vital in increasing protection against the omicron variant.