£500 payment in Wales for people on low incomes who self-isolate, First Minister announces

First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government has announced a new £500 payment to support people on low incomes who are asked to self-isolate if they have coronavirus.

Hospitality businesses in Wales will also have to close at 10pm, as new measures are introduced in Wales to prevent a fresh coronavirus crisis, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today.

Strengthened regulations will also ensure employers support people who need to self-isolate, he said.

The announcements come as the First Minister was criticised for briefing journalists on the changes before telling the Senedd.

Mark Drakeford had earlier told the Llywydd that he would not brief the Senedd on the changes as they had not been finalised before his broadcast tonight.

However, it was later revealed by BBC News that the Welsh Government had decided to follow England in closing pubs at 10pm.

But I thought these decisions weren’t being made until just before the First Minister goes on TV?” Shadow Health Spokesperson Andrew RT Davies said.

“They’ve fed the Llywydd a complete load of bull. What a disgrace and complete disrespect to her position and the Senedd. The arrogance of these Labour ministers knows no bounds.”

‘Foothold’

The changes in Wales follow a four-nation COBR meeting, chaired by the Prime Minister, which discussed a series of proposals for further action – many of which are already in place in Wales – to respond to rising rates of coronavirus transmission throughout the UK.

Announcing the new measures, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Once again, we are facing rising cases of coronavirus infections in different parts of Wales and once again we are seeing people being admitted to our hospitals with serious illnesses because of this virus.

“In the weeks and months ahead of us, there is a very real possibility we could see coronavirus regain a foothold in our local communities, towns and cities. None of us wants to see that happen again.

“In some parts of South Wales, where we have seen the sharpest rises in cases, there are already even stricter local restrictions in place to protect people’s health. We now need to make that difference across Wales.

“It was with the help of people across Wales that we got through the first wave in the spring – you followed all the rules and helped reduce cases of coronavirus, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

“We need everyone to follow the rules and guidance and to take the steps to protect them and their loved ones. Together, we can keep Wales safe.”

The changes come as new local restrictions have come into force for people living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.

England

Before the First Minister spoke, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for the country to “pull together” as it had during the first lockdown and “keep the virus at bay”.

He said that £10,000 fines and the army and police would be deployed to enforce rules.

“The single greatest weapon we bring to this fight is the common sense of the people themselves,” he said.

“After speaking with colleagues in the devolved administration I trust that this approach has support across the whole UK.”

A series of measures announced by the Prime Minister for England are already in force in Wales:

  • In Wales, the Welsh Government asks all those who can to work from home wherever possible. This has been in force since late March;
  • Face coverings are required in all indoor public places, for both customers and staff working in those indoor public areas;
  • People in Wales can only meet socially indoors with people they live with (your household) and members of an exclusive extended household (known as a bubble). Meetings or gatherings indoors are limited to six people from the same extended household, not including any children under 11.

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