Despite COVID-19 infection rates rising in parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, infection rates in Wales remain extremely low, even with restrictions being relaxed.

COVID-19 infection rates are low across all parts of Wales, with Bridgend recording the highest infection rate with 27.2 cases per 100,000 population. The vast majority of areas in Wales now have a COVID-19 infection rate below 10 cases per 100,000 population.

First Minister Mark Drakeford remains cautious however, advising those visiting Welsh beauty spots this weekend to ensure that they carry COVID-19 tests with them.

The First Minister today asked all visitors from Covid hotspots, including areas in England with high levels of the India variant of concern, to take extra measures to help keep Wales safe.

The UK government is asking people living in 8 areas of England where the India variant of concern is concentrated – Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside – to minimise travel out of the area.

But the advice stops short of restricting travel beyond these areas.

As Wales’ tourism sector prepares for late Spring bank holiday weekend and the start of the summer season, the First Minister urged travellers from all over the UK, especially the 8 hotspot areas in England, to use and pack lateral flow testing kits if they are coming to Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

Our tourism businesses will be looking forward to a busy week and the start of the summer season.

I urge anyone planning a break in Wales from an area with higher rates of coronavirus, to test themselves regularly, using the free Covid-19 lateral flow tests, before they travel. Only those who have a negative test result and no symptoms of coronavirus should travel.

Everyone coming to Wales from areas with a higher prevalence of coronavirus should bring lateral flow testing kits with them to continue regular testing while on holiday – this is an additional measure to help keep Wales safe. Lateral flow testing kits are also available locally throughout Wales.

The latest figures show there have been more than 3,200 cases of the India variant of concern identified in England. There are 57 cases in Wales.

The First Minister added:

Throughout the course of the pandemic, a clear and consistent pattern in the spread of coronavirus along travel corridors has emerged. This is true within Wales; across the UK and internationally. The virus moves with people, and people bring the virus into new areas as they move around.

Our best route out of this pandemic remains our impressive vaccination programme. I urge everyone to continue adopting the same caution and protective behaviours we have done throughout this pandemic while we continue to vaccinate the remainder of the eligible population in Wales.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0