Coronavirus UK updates: Welsh health minister defends new quarantine measures

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Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates (Journal of Hospital Medicine)
Studies Point To Big Drop In COVID-19 Death Rates (Journal of Hospital Medicine)

Wales’ health minister has defended the introduction of quarantine restrictions on travellers returning from Portugal, Gibraltar, French Polynesia and six Greek islands.

Vaughan Gething said there had been a “rising tide of infections” coming from the Greek islands and insisted the measure had been imposed to keep Wales safe.

On Thursday evening, the Welsh government announced that travellers arriving from Portugal, Gibraltar, French Polynesia and six Greek island from 4am on Friday would have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Azores and Madeira are exempt from the quarantine requirement, which applies to the Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros, Antiparos and Crete.

Mr Gething told the BBC’s Today programme there had been “very clear advice” from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), as well as a number of cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

On Tuesday, the Welsh government advised passengers returning from Zakynthos to quarantine for two weeks and offered Covid-19 tests within 48 hours of their return, as well as eight days later.

“That was because in the week before we had over 30 cases from four different flights, two of which had landed in England,” Mr Gething told the BBC.

“On that flight which landed in Cardiff on Tuesday, there are over 20 direct cases – that’s more than 10 per cent of that flight.

“Seeing a rising tide of infections coming in from that list of islands, having that direct experience in Wales and very clear advice about the higher risk to UK public health from the JBC, I did not feel that there was any course of action other than taking some form of action.

“It’s not for me to explain why others haven’t done that, but I’m very clear that we’re following that advice and keeping Wales safe.”

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