Support our Nation today - please donate here

Drakeford ‘frustrated’ at new variant after urging UK Gov to clamp down on international travel

04 Jun 2021 3 minute read
Inset: First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Mark Drakeford has said that people were “right to feel frustrated” over the spread of the new more transmissible Covid variant after he had urged the UK Government to clamp down on international travel.

He added that there was an “inevitability” that Wales would see the new ‘Delta’ variant spreading over the border.

“And given what we know about the transmissibility of that new variant and the fact that we are seeing signs that it does translate into higher numbers of people coming into hospitals, we continue to take a cautious approach to lifting restrictions here in Wales,” he said.

He was asked by Richard Madeley on ITV News how “frustrated” he was that Wales had been put in that position.

“We were talking to the programme doctor a few minutes ago and he said unambiguously that we could have stopped this,” Richard Madeley said. “It didn’t have to be this way.

“We could have closed our borders to people coming in from India weeks and weeks and weeks before we did because we knew what was going on out there – it was all over the nightly news. And yet we didn’t, and here we are. Does that make you feel as frustrated as, I think, most people feel?”

Mark Drakeford replied: “No I think we’re right to feel frustrated. We have constantly urged the United Kingdom Government to take a precautionary approach to international travel. Not to wait until a problem occurs and not to then try to slam the door after that horse has long bolted.

“But the UK Government has persisted really in an approach which is to do the least they think they need to do, rather than as I think we would have preferred, doing the most that was necessary.”


The First Minister was speaking after announcing a slower than expected relaxing of lockdown restrictions so that more people can be fully vaccinated against Covid before a new variant potentially spreads throughout Wales.

The move comes as 97 cases of what is now known as the Delta (formerly Indian) variant have been discovered in Wales, with 39 just cases in the last week, including a cluster in Conwy.

As a result of concerns about the spread of this more transmissible variant, the move to alert level one will be “phased”, with outdoor events opening first on Monday.

“The two-stage approach will enable more people to be vaccinated – and complete their two-dose course – amid growing concerns about the spread of the delta variant of the virus across the UK,” the Welsh Government said.

Ministers will review the public health situation again, ahead of June 21, to determine whether indoor events can restart.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Richard Madeley has this right….. Johnson kept India off the red list so he could creep round her leaders for a trade deal in the wake of the Brexit economic suicide. Totally ridiculous behaviour that somehow isn’t being shown by the lapdog MSM.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
3 years ago

Actually the First Minister is correct.
I’m not a fan of him or Keir Stammer but the latter’s comments earlier this year are worth repeating.
It is a nonsense he said, that the schools are closed and the airports open.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 years ago

Did Fat Shanks Johnson attend the Dark Davos high security meeting, where the ‘Authoritarians’ discussed their New World Order plans?

Cllr Pete Roberts
Cllr Pete Roberts
3 years ago

Last year Welsh Government published a genome analysis of the early part of the autumn wave in Wales showing definitely its foreign travel origins. The first wave was so bad because of seeding from Alpine breaks in Feb half term. When will the UK Government learn it’s not just about how virus free the locals are but also about who is travelling there. Bailing out the travel industry and limiting travel to essential and business only would be far cheaper than the current mess and the inevitable 3rd (or should that now be 4th) wave when a real vaccine escape… Read more »

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.