MARK Drakeford has called on Boris Johnson to "think very carefully" about restarting international travel in May.

The first minister said he "remained concerned" that protections were not in place to guard against potential new variants of the virus being brought back to the UK by people travelling abroad.

The prime minister's road map out of lockdown for England states that international travel could be allowed from May 17.

But speaking at this afternoon's Welsh Government coronavirus briefing, Mr Drakeford called on Mr Johnson to consider the risks.

He said: "I remain concerned that we have not built the defences high enough against the risk of infections in other parts of the world coming in to the UK.

"That is particularly because we are seeing these new variants in different parts of the world and the virus will do that. It will always attempt to get round the protections that are being put in place.

"I ask the prime minister to think very carefully indeed about this.

"He has said he wants to do things carefully and cautiously and I am not sure that inviting people to think that international travel is going to be back on the cards in May is the right approach to that."


Mr Drakeford said that Wales had already seen the impact international travel can have on case rates, adding: "Back in September in Wales, our numbers of people suffering from coronavirus were undoubtedly driven up partially because of people who had been on holiday coming to Wales bringing the virus with them.

"That is even more dangerous when there are unknown variants of the virus circulation elsewhere in the world.

"We will be building the defences high in Cardiff to play our part in keeping the virus at bay."