THE MP for Clwyd West has called for a ban on visitors to caravan parks and holiday cottages in North Wales due to fears it could put further strain on the region's health care system, reports the Denbighshire Free Press.
David Jones MP called on the UK and Welsh Government to take "immediate action" as second home owners are attempting to leave urban areas during the coronavirus outbreak and could bring the infection to North Wales.
It comes amid concern that Wales has just five intensive care beds per 100,000 people and could be under greater pressure than health services in England.
Mr Jones said that while advice has been issued to limit non-essential travel, roads across North Wales "have been full" with visitors.
Other tourist hotspots including Pembrokeshire, Cornwall and North Yorkshire have also faced an influx of visitors over the last week.
“The Government has been very clear that people should not undertake non-essential travel, but should, so far as possible, stay at home," said Mr Jones. "Yet the roads of North Wales this weekend – the first weekend of Spring – have been full of people from outside the region making their way to holiday parks and cottages.
“These people may be touring from areas where coronavirus has already taken hold. Even if they are not themselves already displaying symptoms, they may already be infected and develop the infection or spread infection while in North Wales.
"Either way, they are liable to impose significant additional strain upon local health services, which are already overstretched. The North Wales Health Board has been in special measures for almost five years."
Mr Jones adds to the calls of Welsh MPs and assembly members including Ynys Mon AM Rhun ap Iorwerth and Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts, who wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock urging a "non-travel directive" as travel advice is being ignored.
Mr Jones added: "The problem of temporary residents and the strain they impose on local health services is not confined to North Wales. Pembrokeshire, Scotland, Cornwall and North Yorkshire are other areas of the UK that are extremely concerned about the same issue.
“At a time of a national public health emergency, the last thing we need is people moving about the country, when the best medical opinion is that they should stay at home.”* The sign below has just appeared on the way up to Castell Dinas Bran ...
* The UK Government's message to stay at home to save lives.
The area’s MP (pictured) has intervened in the social media debate raging about visitors potentially spreading coronovirus by visiting Llangollen.
He agrees, stressing the government’s “stay at home” message.
The Denbighshire Free Press reports today that Snowdonia yesterday experienced its busiest day ever as droves of people descended on the beauty spot to escape the Covid-19 isolation measures introduced by the UK Government on Friday.
And Llangollen was also reportedly thronged with visitors on Saturday.
This has sparked a number of calls on Facebook for people from other areas to stay away from the town to cut down the risk of infection and for other reasons such as creating heavier demand on local supermarkets and NHS.
Examples of posts this morning (Sunday) are: “Dear visitors, as much as we love you visiting our town and supporting our local business. Can we politely ask you NOT to visit our small community during this period for obvious health reasons. Social isolation DOES not mean we travel on mass for lovely days out, thankyou.”
And: “Anyone wanting a day out in our lovely town today PLEASE DON’T, we love visitors but NOT IN VIRUS FORM. Help the NHS and then they are free to help you. LISTEN TO GUIDELINES AND STAY HOME!”
A local business became involved in the debate when Pro-Adventure posted: “Following the latest government advice we will not be opening today. Please do not travel to Llangollen.
“We will operate mail order as normal while we deem it safe and will take calls, and online chats in the afternoons Monday to Friday.”
Other posts have been less polite, suggesting stronger action against visitors including blocking off car parks and “not welcome” style signs.
Just after 9.30am Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes posted: “Hearing far too many reports of visitors and tourists in our beauty spots, scenic towns and villages in Clwyd South.
“Our local health service cannot cope with visitors’ illness as well as our own.
“Everyone needs to listen to the Government's advice, stay at home and protect our NHS because it saves lives.”
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