Masks farce continues: Train passengers will have to put face coverings on when they cross the border from England into Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford confirms
- The Welsh First Minister said masks had to by put on by law in Wales
- It means as trains cross the border the coverings will have to be worn
- Wales has different rules to England and will have stricter regulations
Mark Drakeford said people arriving from England by train would be required to don a face covering as soon as they entered Wales.
The Welsh First Minister said he hoped people would observe the ‘clear’ advice on face coverings given by Boris Johnson but that the practice would be a legal requirement in Wales.
However he said he had not expressed his concerns over the UK Government’s changes to the quarantine rules for those who have been double jabbed returning to England from amber list countries.
Mr Drakeford told BBC Breakfast: ‘The people who run the transport system will make sure that people are aware that as they come into Wales different rules apply.
‘If you travel into Wales by road now you will see signs that say ‘Welsh rules apply’. That will be true on trains and other forms of transport as well.
‘I hope people will observe the clear advice of the prime minister in England, that they should continue to wear face coverings on public transport.
‘Here in Wales the rule will be clear, it isn’t simply advice, it’s what the law will require.’
Asked when he had last spoken to the Prime Minister, Mr Drakeford replied: ‘I’ve had one telephone conversation with the Prime Minister since our election on May 6 and we’ve had one meeting where the first ministers met with the Prime Minister.
The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said masks had to by put on by law in Wales
It means those travelling after Freedom Day by train will have to wear them after border cross
Wales has and will have different rules to those in England following the July 19 unlocking
‘That was a more lengthy meeting, a proper meeting, so those have been the contacts that I’ve had.’
Mr Drakeford said yesterday that Wales will move fully into alert Level 1 from July 17 – following a four-week pause due to the rise of the Delta variant. If infection rates then remain stable and even more people are vaccinated, Wales will move to Level 0 on August 7.
‘The virus is still with us and we know many people are still anxious about going out and about,’ Mr Drakeford said.
‘Social distancing requirements and mask rules will remain indoors from 17 July. But we will gradually ease masks as the public health risk decreases.’
From July 17, up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation, organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 people seated and up to 200 standing, and ice rinks can reopen.
Mr Drakeford said: ‘We are entering a new phase of the pandemic. Cases of the virus have risen sharply since the Delta variant emerged six weeks ago but, thanks to our fantastic vaccination programme, we are not seeing these translate into large numbers of people falling seriously ill or needing hospital treatment.
‘We can be reasonably confident that vaccination has weakened the link between infections and serious illness.
‘But there is still a risk that this third wave of the pandemic could cause real harm – either direct harm from the virus or indirect harm from, for example, people having to isolate.
Mr Drakeford said Wales was ‘entering a new phase of the pandemic’ after cases rose
‘We can move to alert Level 1 for indoor spaces from July 17 and go further for outdoor spaces because we know the risk of transmission outdoors is lower.
‘We are also publishing plans for a new alert Level 0, which will have fewer legal restrictions but which will still need all of us to take steps to protect ourselves.’
The country’s incidence rate is currently 147 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people – the lowest in the UK – and it also has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
On Tuesday, there were 69 people in Welsh hospitals with Covid-19.
If Wales moves to alert Level 0 on August 7, all premises will be able to open and most – but not all – restrictions will be removed and replaced with the ongoing requirement for all organisations and businesses to carry out Covid risk assessments.
There will also be no legal limit on the number of people who can meet others indoors, including in private homes.
Face coverings will continue to be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, with the exception of hospitality settings.
Mr Drakeford said: ‘The pandemic is not over and the virus continues to spread across Wales, which makes it really important for everyone to say yes to vaccination and to do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
‘Even though vaccines have weakened the link between the virus and hospitalisation, we are seeing young, fit people suffer from long Covid, which, for some, has a major impact on their lives.
‘We have the headroom to continue to gradually remove restrictions, but each and every one of us has a really important part to play to keep Wales safe as we head into the summer.’
Mr Drakeford also confirmed that people who have who have been fully vaccinated in the UK will no longer need to self-isolate if they are returning from an amber list country, in line with the position in England and Scotland.
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