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Wales has now banned travellers from COVID hotspots in England from crossing the border. The First Minister said this week she fully supported the Welsh First Minister’s decision to impose a ban.
Mark Drakeford has said police in Wales will be instructed to issue penalty notices to travellers and has asked residents to inform of any breaches.
The remarkable new rules come into force on Friday, October 16.
Areas of the north of England, close to the Scottish border, have caused particular concern for Ms Sturgeon as she fights to keep Scotland’s COVID numbers under control.
Much of the north of England is currently under heavy restrictions, particularly Liverpool and surrounding areas which are currently in Tier 3 – and shares a border with Wales.
Will there be a travel ban between England and Scotland?
Ms Sturgeon has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to chair a meeting to strike a deal between England and the devolved nations on travel restrictions between them.
The prevalence of COVID-19 is considerably less in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland than it is in England.
Speaking to Times Radio, Mark Drakeford defended the decision: “It is absolutely possible to enforce it. The Welsh population is very nervous and wary.
“Your difficulties aren’t over if you evade the police.”
Ms Sturgeon backed Mr Drakeford in her daily address, saying: “If we think putting formal travel restrictions in place is necessary we will do that and I don’t rule that out and rule anything out.
“But obviously you know the police cannot stop everybody on the roads to check whether they’re travelling for essential purposes.”
She argued “what we do voluntarily” would determine whether “we’re going to succeed or fail.”
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Ms Sturgeon has warned the Scottish Government “will also take whatever action we consider necessary” if Mr Johnson did not comply with her request.
She said: “We want to, if possible, have an aligned strategic framework between the four nations.
“But we have to make sure the context of that is right for the circumstances we’re facing here.
“So, without announcing any decisions because we haven’t reached them yet, there would be a couple of options if we thought the tier three announced in England wasn’t sufficient.
“You could toughen up what the minimum of Tier 3 was or you could have another tier above that.”
Ms Sturgeon is considering adopting a similar system to England’s new tiered levels – but with an added fourth level, with the First Minister making it clear at a COBRA meeting on Monday that current top-end restrictions would be insufficient in bringing the most severe outbreaks under control.
Plans for Scotland’s own system will be announced when parliament returns from recess in two weeks time.
Scotland’s central belt is currently suffering from a lack of pubs and restaurants as venues which serve alcohol have been forced to close their doors for a circuit breaker in areas like Edinburgh and Glasgow.
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