Wales to ‘closely monitor’ effects of UK travel ban at ports

Adam Hale, PA Wales Correspondent
·2-min read

The Welsh Government has said it will continue to monitor possible disruption at Welsh ports after ferry passengers were banned from leaving the country.

It came as more than 40 countries around the world cancelled flights from the UK amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain, and France banned lorries carrying freight from Dover for 48 hours.

The Republic of Ireland is allowing freight and essential travel from ports in North Wales and West Wales, but has said other visitors would not be granted entry on Monday or Tuesday.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford attended a Cobra meeting later in the day chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to look at the impact of the new strain of the virus, where Mr Drakeford updated members on the situation at Welsh ports.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “On the impact of the travel bans imposed by European partners, the First Minister updated the meeting on the current situation at Welsh ports.

“While traffic management plans are not needed at this point, the First Minister made clear that arrangements with the Irish Republic were very important in sustaining that position. UK-wide supply chains for food, medical supplies, PPE and vaccines are robust.

“The Welsh Government will continue to closely monitor the situation in the days ahead.”

Per the Irish government’s 48-hour ban, Irish Ferries, which has routes between Holyhead and Dublin, as well as Pembroke Dock and Rosslare, has banned all travel except for essential travel and freight, while Stena Line has done the same for its route between Holyhead and Dublin, as well as Fishguard to Rosslare.

Bukola Sokunbi-Walton, from Galway, told BBC Radio Wales the ban means she is now stranded at Holyhead in Anglesey, having travelled from London to spend Christmas with her children at home.

She said: “I just expected to get on the ferry as usual and go home because I have three children waiting for me, but it’s very upsetting and disappointing that I can’t do that right now.

“They (the Government of Ireland) should have given us ample time to prepare for that, at least given us information so that we would know what to do.”