The success of Wales’ new Covid-19 regulations will test England’s appetite for lockdown

Mark Drakeford.

The prohibition on travel into Wales from tier two and three areas will need to be self-enforcing. 

People who live in tier two and tier three areas – that is, areas that are classified as ‘high risk’ and ‘very high risk’ will be banned from travelling into Wales from Friday, the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has announced.

It represents an eye-catching, but comparatively small change in the existing regulations. As it stands, people in tier three areas are merely strongly advised not to travel outside of them. The government at Westminster contemplated, but ultimately did not go through, with measures to legally prohibit these movements, partly because of internal resistance to the idea within the Conservative party, but more importantly because it is far from clear how this law would be enforced.

Many countries have introduced similar internal barriers, but have likewise struggled to practically enforce them. In practice, these restrictions will only work if they are self-policed: that is to say, if people in tier two and tier three areas voluntarily opt to stay out of Wales. That speaks to the big question that is being neglected at Westminster: why is support for fresh lockdowns so high in both polls and focus groups, yet practical observance is so low?

If the answer is that people simply can’t afford to observe a period of lockdown, then Wales’ new prohibitions, which will largely but not exclusively prevent leisure travel and well-paid commuters from entering Wales from Cheshire and the Merseyside area, may have a greater level of observance than existing measures. If the answer is something deeper, then Wales’ new regulations may have little force or impact.

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Source:: New Statesman


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