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Welsh Government answer our questions on the Cardiff-Scarlets South Africa Covid saga

In an attempt to shed more light on the situation facing Cardiff and the Scarlets, we submitted a series of questions to the Welsh Government.

The aim was to seek further clarification after we received the following initial statement from them in response to our enquiries over where the two Welsh teams stood on the back of their troubled trip to South Africa.

That statement read: “Those arriving in the UK from a red list country must have proof of a negative coronavirus test, taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

“They must enter through a designated port in England or Scotland, and must enter managed quarantine for 10 days and take tests during quarantine on (or before) day 2 and on (or after) day 8. Post-arrival tests and managed quarantine must be booked before departure.”

Read more: Cardiff Rugby to return to UK and quarantine in England

We replied to this with a series of follow-up questions, focusing on the regulations surrounding returning from a red list country such as South Africa and quarantine policy.

Here they are, along with the responses we received from Welsh Government.

Question: Why is entry to the UK from red list countries only allowed via “designated ports” in England and Scotland? Why is entry not allowed to a Welsh “port”, such as Cardiff Airport? Whose policy is that?

Answer: In order to keep Wales safe, under Welsh law, it is illegal for anyone who has been in a red list country in the last 10 days to enter Wales directly. Therefore there are no quarantine facilities in Wales.

Q: Is it within the powers of the Welsh Government to allow a flight from a red list country to land at Cardiff Airport? Do they have any say in the matter or is it out of their hands?

A: Cardiff International Airport is not a designated port of entry, meaning travellers cannot travel directly to Wales from a red list country and must enter through a designated port in England or Scotland and quarantine there.

To reduce public health risk, it is advised that travellers should isolate as close to the point of arrival as possible. As most international travel to Wales is via English ports, there is clear rationale for locating quarantine hotels near these ports.

Q: Is it correct that there is no Covid-secure hotel in Wales?

A: Yes – for the reasons set out above.

Q: Is the absence of such a Covid-secure hotel the reason why flights from red list countries are not allowed to land at Cardiff Airport?

A: Answer to first question applies.

Q: Is this also why the Scarlets are unable to move from their quarantine hotel in Belfast to a hotel in Wales, where they could both isolate and train?

A: Answer to first question applies. There is no capacity anywhere in the UK to comply with red list quarantine requirements and train; isolation requirements are the same for all individuals no matter what their profession.

Q: Are the Welsh Government able to assist Cardiff in their attempts to leave South Africa in any way? What support have they provided so far?

A: Cardiff will need to adhere to the rules set out for international travel.

Q: The Irish government have given the go-ahead for the Munster players who have tested negative to return to Ireland from South Africa. Are the Welsh Government able to give permission for the Cardiff players who have had negative tests to return to Wales?

A: Answer to question 1 applies. The Republic of Ireland is an independent nation state. Wales is part of the UK.

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