Wales to ban entry to people in COVID hotspots in rest of UK

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Watch: Wales bans people from UK COVID hotspots

LONDON (Reuters) - Wales announced on Wednesday that it intended to ban people living in areas with high rates of COVID-19 infections in the rest of the United Kingdom from entering the country, in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease.

Under plans being prepared by the devolved Welsh government, those people in areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with high infection levels will be barred, First Minister Mark Drakeford said.

"We are preparing to take this action to prevent people who live in areas where there are higher COVID infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales and bringing the virus with them," he said.

The Welsh government said it intended the ban to come into force on Friday at 1700 GMT.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a three-tier system of local restrictions for parts of England, with the Liverpool area, where infections have been soaring, becoming the first to be placed in the highest category, requiring bars and other businesses to shut.

The Welsh government said its decision came after Johnson did not respond to Drakeford's request to make advisory travel guidance in English coronavirus hotspots mandatory.

"Much of Wales is now subject to local restriction measures because levels of the virus have risen and people living in those areas are not able to travel beyond their county boundary without a reasonable excuse," Drakeford said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work?