Posted: Fri 3rd Jul 2020

Dealing with UK Government on easing of quarantine measures has been ‘utterly shambolic’ says First Minister

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 3rd, 2020

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Dealing with the UK government on quarantine lifting for those people entering the country has been “utterly shambolic” first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has said.

People arriving from countries including France, Spain, Germany and Italy will no longer need to quarantine from next week, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps announced today.

The new measures will come into force from 10 July, it means that people arriving from more than 50 destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

The UK government has said Wales will set out its own approach to exemptions andƒ passengers returning to Wales “should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there.” 

First minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh government is not in charge of border security and it will follow rules implemented by UK government.

In his announcement, Grant Shapps said: “Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation.

Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.”

“The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watchword and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.”

The UK government said devolved administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, “and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there.”

According to the BBC, Mr Shapps said he had “held off” from his announcement in the hope that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would reach a decision at the same time as England.

Mr Shapps said there was “still an opportunity” for the devolved nations to match England’s decision ahead of the changes coming into effect on 10 July.

“I very much hope that we can do this as four nations at the same time – I think it would just simplify it for people a great deal – but they will need to make that decision themselves,” he said.

During today’s Welsh government briefing, first minister Mark Drakeford slammed his UK counterparts saying that dealing with them in the past few days has been an “utterly shambolic experience.”

“I have said from the outset on this business of border quarantine that these are essentially matters for the UK government.”

“The Welsh government is not in charge of border security, we don’t strike deals with foreign countries and I’ve seen it is our responsibility to put onto the statute book here in Wales the regulations that allow that UK scheme to operate here in Wales.

Dealing with the UK Government over the last few days has been an utterly shambolic experience.”

“If there was ever an example of making an announcement first and then trying to work out what you meant by it, that is what we have seen since this announcement was first trailed in the press.”

“Day after day we have attempted to get a sensible answer from the UK government of how they intend to make the changes, which countries they intend to extend the new arrangements to, I just have to say it’s been an impossible experience to follow.

We still don’t know, even as I stand here, the list that the UK government will finally publish, when we have it, then our chief medical officer will provide me with advice.”

“If says to me that there is nothing on that list that he believes would cause harm to the health of the public here in Wales, it will be my intention to take regulations to the floor of the Senedd to implement those changes here in Wales.”

“My last understanding was and this is another thing that has moved about all week long, but the current date for implementing these changes is Friday now of next week the 10th of July, that will give us the time that we need.

I expect that we will put regulations to the Senedd to make the changes available to people in Wales, but I do want to tell you that it has been an experience of dealing with a government that never appears capable of making up its mind, let alone communicating that sensibly to devolved administrations.”

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