Local authorities are urging people to stop all unnecessary travel and tourism to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Four Welsh councils and the Hywel Dda Health board are appealing for tourists to stay home.

A joint statement was prepared by the Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor David Simpson, leaders at Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire county councils; Hywel Dda University Health Board and MPs and AMs across the Hywel Dda region.

It said: "As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic progresses, it is crucial we all play our part in tackling this disease in what is an unprecedented challenge in modern times.

"In particular it is extremely important that everyone follows the advice from the Government to slow and stop the spread of this virus and that we all do everything we can to support our essential public services, especially our NHS.

"The Government has now urged the public to stay at home and limit all but essential travel and it cannot be stressed enough how vital this advice is.

"One major concern that we are starting to witness is an influx of tourists into West Wales and the consequences this may have in the coming weeks and especially the serious risk that there will be an overwhelming, unnecessary pressure on our services and supply chains.

"As strong supporters of the tourism and hospitality industry here in West Wales, we fully understand the huge and grave challenges facing the sector and why some businesses may want to take this opportunity to bring in visitors at this time.

"However, our absolute top priority is the need to stop spread of this virus and also to protect our NHS from the increased pressures that tourism brings at a time when they will be stretched to the absolute limit.

In line with the official Government advice therefore and also in recognition of the interests of the resident population here in West Wales, it is with great regret that we are taking an unprecedented step and asking people not to come on holiday to Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion or Carmarthenshire at this time.

‘We are collectively exploring every avenue to support all businesses affected by this crisis but the overriding concern has to be to keep people safe and well.

‘Please do not underestimate the risk this disease presents and we would urge you to take all the appropriate steps to keep you and your family safe, and also help all those who live and work here in West Wales stay safe and well.

‘We promise you that Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion will be just as amazing places once this is all over and we are looking forward to the day in the near future when we are once again welcoming everyone back.’

Natural Resources Wales is also urging people to stop all unnecessary travel to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Clare Pillman, NRW spokesperson said: “Whilst we know people will want to spend time outdoors over the coming weeks, we are asking people to follow the Public Health Wales guidance on social distancing

“Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces and do not travel unnecessarily,

"Our advice is to take care of yourself and when possible, relax and keep active by continuing to explore and enjoy local spaces close to home."

If people do not adhere to this guidance, NRW will have to take drastic measures to protect the communities and health services in Wales, such as shutting down car parks and trails.

In these challenging times NRW will focus all its effort, energy and resource in the coming days and weeks on maintaining its core services. We will be pleased to welcome visitors back to Wales once the situation has improved.