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Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon says she won't rule out bans on travel to the UK


Travel bans could be put in place to prevent people from coming to Scotland from coronavirus hotspots in other parts of the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed yesterday that she wants to stop cross-border travel from regions with the highest Covid-19 rates to regions with a lower prevalence.

The Scottish First Minister also backed a controversial move by the Welsh government to fines people from high-risk parts of Scotland and England for traveling there.

The initial fines in Wales are £ 50 but these could go up if someone doesn't leave.

Miss Sturgeon said she wanted all parts of the UK to restrict travel from areas with the highest number of cases as she warned Scots not to travel to or from hotspots within the country, mainly around the Central Belt, where Cases occur more and more frequently.

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured at a press conference at St. Andrew & # 39; s House in Edinburgh yesterday) said she wanted all parts of the UK to restrict travel from areas with the highest number of cases

In July 2016, a national border sign between Scotland and England is pictured on the Scottish Borders

In July 2016, a national border sign between Scotland and England is pictured on the Scottish Borders

She added: “The First Minister of Wales is working to reach agreement between the four UK nations on travel restrictions, if necessary, from areas with high prevalence in one UK country to lower prevalence in other countries.

“I want to make it clear today that I support the calls made by the First Minister of Wales and I will write to the Prime Minister today for urgent discussions on this matter.

“If we feel that formal travel restrictions need to be put in place, we will. I'm not ruling that out – I'm not ruling anything out. But obviously the police cannot prevent everyone on the street from checking that they are traveling for essential purposes. & # 39;

Miss Sturgeon reportedly asked for urgent legal assistance as to whether a cross-border travel ban could be introduced.

The Welsh Government will ban people from entering Covid hotspots in England

The Welsh Government will ban people from entering Covid hotspots in England

And this morning, the Westminster leader told the SNP that Scotland could take steps to prevent non-essential travel from coronavirus hotspots.

Ian Blackford told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “We have an opportunity, of course, to take appropriate public health action.

“If necessary, we can say that people should not travel from hotspots, whether they are coming from Scotland or coming to Scotland from other parts of the UK.

“However, it is doing this according to an evidence-based approach that we deem it appropriate to protect people in all parts of the country from people who travel where they are not needed.

"If people need to travel for business, work, etc. – essential travel – they will still be allowed, but it is non-essential travel and it is appropriate to do so."

Yesterday, the first Welsh minister, Mark Drakeford, said people from other parts of the UK would be fined for traveling from places like Liverpool to Wales, which is in the top tier of the highest risk parts in England.

Mr Drakeford said Wales would ban people from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus until Friday if Boris Johnson does not impose UK travel restrictions.

He told the Welsh Parliament that he had asked for work on the travel ban to be brought forward after Mr Johnson failed to respond to two letters asking him to introduce the measure across the UK.

On social media, Drakeford said he was preparing new regulations "to protect the health of the people of Wales".

Miss Sturgeon replied to his message on Twitter that she fully supported the move. She added: “These are public health decisions and have nothing to do with constitutional or political debates.

"The Scottish Government will also take whatever measures we deem necessary to control Covid."

When asked if she was seeking legal advice on the plan, a Scottish government spokesman pointed to Miss Sturgeon's Twitter message.

Miss Sturgeon also advised against non-essential travel to parts of England classified as high or very high alert areas.

These include Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire, West and South Yorkshire, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, and Nottinghamshire and the West Midlands.

Individuals living in the five areas of the Central Belt Health Board, which have the strictest breaker restrictions, have already been advised to avoid non-essential travel, while those in other parts of Scotland have been advised not to visit unless this is required.

Miss Sturgeon said she was against mandatory travel restrictions "at this point", but people shouldn't travel if they don't have to.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured in Cardiff in May) said people from other parts of the UK would be fined for traveling to Wales from places like Liverpool

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured in Cardiff in May) said people from other parts of the UK would be fined for traveling to Wales from places like Liverpool

The First Minister added: “We are currently discouraging non-essential travel to those parts of England that are classified as very high or high alert areas under the new three tier system of England. And I ask people from these areas not to go to Scotland either.

"Some of these areas are even more infected than central Scotland and we will ensure that the information on which areas are covered by these guidelines is updated on the government website."

She said she thought carefully last week about a mandatory travel restriction in the five areas of the Central Belt Health Board but decided against it "at this point".

She added, "We decided not to tell people that if you booked an October break you have to cancel it so people can leave but have to be very careful.

“But if you haven't booked a break yet, or if it is an option not to go, I would advise not to travel if you don't have to.

"Because then you minimize the risk of the virus being in a place you go, or of accidentally and unknowingly bringing it there or back."

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