Decision on scrapping rest of Covid restrictions in Wales ‘finely balanced’ says Health Minister as cases surge
Wales’ Health Minister has said that the decision on whether to scrap Wales’ remaining Covid restrictions on Monday is “finely balanced” after a surge in cases.
Speaking at today’s Welsh Government press conference Eluned Morgan said that they were once again seeing a “marked increase in cases across Wales”.
This rise was being driven by the BA2 subtype of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus, and was reinfected many people who had already had Omicron, she said.
“This is a slightly different form of the virus than the one which caused the huge wave of cases over the Christmas and New Year period,” she said.
“All the signs show that it’s even more transmissible and faster moving than the original Omicron variant and reinfection rates are high so even if you’ve had COVID before, unfortunately, it won’t mean that you’re immune to BA2.
“We have expected to see a rise in case rates as we gradually release protections, but the BA two subtype is pushing infections up rapidly.”
“We also believe that waning vaccine immunity may be making some groups more vulnerable.”
A decision on scrapping the final restrictions including face masks is expected on Friday.
Eluned Morgan was asked if she was now considering renewing some Covid restrictions that had lapsed.
“It is going to be a very finely balanced judgement in terms of whether we continue with our planned approach to releasing those very final restrictions that we still have in place,” she said.
“There are no foregone conclusions. We are analysing the data and we are giving ourselves as much time as we can to look at what’s happening elsewhere in the United Kingdom to learn from their experiences.
“We will act in the best interest of the NHS and of the public health in Wales. We have got to consider the pressures on the NHS – at the moment our hospitals are full already.
“Any additional new pressure on the NHS is going to lead to more difficulties in terms of access to accident emergencies, difficulties of getting ambulances to people.
“All of those things need to be considered as well as the fact that we’re likely to see more people working on NHS going off sick. So these are difficult judgments at the same time.”
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