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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

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International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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Police and Crime Commissioner secures almost £300k for Safer Streets across Dyfed-Powys

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has secured funding of almost £300,000 that will deliver a series of initiatives that aim to ensure safer streets within towns and communities across the Dyfed-Powys area.

In particular, the initiatives will look to address anti-social behaviour and acquisitive crime in specific areas, address women’s safety, increase prevention and intervention resources within youth support services in Carmarthenshire, and increasing the number of CCTV cameras in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion.

The total amount of funding secured by Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn is £292,741, and will include;

Installing 4 additional CCTV Cameras in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion as an intervention to mitigate issues including drug misuse and anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the town.
Purchasing 14 CCTV rapid deployment units aimed at not only tackling ASB, but violence against women and girls (VAWG) issues and acquisitive crime
Funding for a Youth Support Service Interventions Co-ordinator based in Carmarthenshire County Council to work closely with Dyfed-Powys Police to assess and deliver interventions to children and young people, aged 8-18, to reduce their risk of committing offences or ASB.
Hollie Guard Extra app designed to protect users, focussed on young women and girls and will play a pivotal role in keeping members of the public protected against VAWG. Victims from will be able to download the app with vouchers from the Force to access it.
Community Champions’ education programme – delivery of an awareness raising and educational programme, and roll out of Community Champions. The Programme will aim to raise awareness of stalking, harassment and hate crimes, to work towards creating Safer Streets and communities.
ASB Help partnership training – to police and key partners on ASB tools and powers and the community trigger process
This latest funding secured by PCC Dafydd Llywelyn from the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund is in addition to the almost £500,000 that has already been secured by his Office through previous bids to the Safer Streets fund over the last two years.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I am extremely pleased to announce that we have been successful in securing this latest safer streets funding from the Home Office. We have worked closely with our partners to identify certain initiatives that will aim to ensure that our communities and streets are safe environments for residents.

“Over the last two years we have received almost £800,000 from the Home Office’s Safer Street Fund, which highlights our commitment to making streets safer for those in local communities, and to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour related issues, including violence against women and girls.

“Preventing harm to individuals and communities caused through crime, anti-social behaviour and vulnerability is one of my three key priorities, and the safer streets funding supports us significantly to work collaboratively with partners to address these issues.”

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Passengers advised to avoid rail travel as more strikes hit the network

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PASSENGERS are facing major disruption as nearly all trains in Wales are cancelled on Wednesday.

More than 40,000 UK railway workers, who are part of the RMT union, are set to take part in national strikes over pay.

Transport for Wales (TfW) urged people to “only to travel by rail if necessary” during the industrial action.

It said the strikes are expected to cause “severe disruption” across the whole of the UK.

TfW is not in dispute with the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT), but as Network Rail maintains tracks services in Wales will be hit.

This means only a handful of trains will be running on Wednesday.

GWR says on strike days it will operate an extremely limited service between 7am and 6.30pm and last trains will leave much earlier. Due to the timing of the strike action, services after strike days will also be affected. Passengers are advised to find alternative ways to travel on these days and to only travel if absolutely necessary. The majority of train services will not operate and there will be no services on some routes.

Avanti West Coast has published revised timetables for travel and says passengers can amend their tickets, or ask for a refund. “If you do travel, expect severe disruption and plan ahead. The days after industrial action are also likely to be affected.” They say their timetables will be “significantly reduced with shorter hours of operation, less frequent services, and trains that do run are expected to be very busy.”

Cross Country says their services will be impacted on Wednesday, July 27, as well as Thursday, July 28, and Saturday, July 30.

Nick Millington, route director for Wales & Borders at Network Rail: “We are doing our best to run the trains that we can – we recognise that’s a significantly reduced service here in Wales.”

He added: “We are in dialogue and we have made progress. I recognise it’s not the progress that everybody wants.”

“It’s not all about money either – we want to make sure that we get a sustainable deal for the railway industry and for those that pay for the railway industry, but also the people that use the railway industry.”

TfW say customers with existing non-season tickets valid for travel on the two strike days can use those tickets any time between Tuesday, July 26, and Tuesday, August 2. 

Customers are encouraged to avoid travelling on Friday, July 29, and Sunday, July 31, as services are expected to be extremely busy.

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New Quay RNLI has now launched 13 times in 12 days

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AT the weekend New Quay RNLI volunteers launched both lifeboats on Saturday 23 July and Sunday 24 July.

On Saturday afternoon (23 July) New Quay RNLI was tasked to a report of multi persons in difficulty on kayaks near Penbryn. Cardigan RNLI and HM Coastguard Rescue helicopter had also been paged. However, soon after launching the lifeboats were stood down as they had all made it safely back ashore in Llangrannog.

Then on Sunday (24 July) New Quay RNLI launched both lifeboats at 16.25 to a report of two paddleboarders in trouble on rocks near Llangrannog. They had paddled out but could not back into the beach due to the strong wind.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “One of the paddleboarders had been able to clamber up the cliff and raise the alarm with the lifeguards on the beach in Llangrannog. A lifeguard then paddled around to find the casualty and wait for the lifeboats to arrive.

“In the strong south westerly wind we made good speed down the coast and was first on scene. Locating the casualty and the lifeguard we were able to veer down near the rocks to pick them up and take them back to Llangrannog beach.”

Also on scene were New Quay HM Coastguard team and New Quay RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, the relief Mersey class lifeboat that stood by and then escorted the inshore lifeboat safely to New Quay.

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Operations Manager added, “These recent shouts demonstrate the importance of always telling someone where you are going and when you will be returning, having the right equipment, wearing a wetsuit in cold water temperatures, always having a buoyancy aid and means for calling for help – a mobile phone or hand-held radio. Remember if you are in trouble or see someone in difficulty call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

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