Drakeford reveals new four tier system for post-Christmas period in Wales

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government

The Welsh Government have revealed a new four-tier plan for Covid-19 following the five-day Christmas period.

Holiday accommodation, bars, cafes, restaurants and non-essential retail are all expected to be closed after Christmas unless cases come down quickly.

It follows a leak yesterday which suggested that Wales would face more stringent Covid-19 measures from 28 December onwards.

The new tiers revealed today will be:

  1. Low-risk – this represents the closest to normality we are likely to have before the summer and the widespread take-up of vaccinations.
  2. Medium-risk – additional, targeted controls are put in place to maintain infection rates at lower levels. These may be complemented by more targeted local restrictions to manage specific incidents and outbreaks.
  3. High-risk – these are the strictest package of restrictions, short of a firebreak or lockdown.
  4. Very high risk – restrictions at this level are equivalent to a lockdown and reflect the seriousness of the situation.

All of Wales is currently at alert level three. But the First Minister said that if the strengthened national measures, together with the efforts everyone is making, do not succeed in reducing the rates of coronavirus, Wales would need to move to alert level four after the five-day Christmas period.

The full plan will be published next week, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said.

“This has been a truly challenging year,” he said. “The impact of coronavirus on us all – on all aspects of our lives – cannot be underestimated. Like almost every country in the world, we have put restrictions in place to control the spread of this deadly virus.

“This updated plan shows how the national measures will be introduced in a more uniform way as we move through the pandemic, providing greater certainty for people and businesses.”

Over the last seven days, the Wales average is 380 per 100,000 people, with a test positivity rate of 17%. The R rate across Wales has increased to 1.27 with a doubling time of just 11.7 days.

 

‘Important’

The Welsh Government said that the updated plan would out in detail how national measures will be introduced in a more uniform and predictable way, depending on a range of indicators, including the level of the virus in Wales and the risk of infection.

The updated plan was informed by latest analysis from our scientific and medical experts and the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). It has also been informed by the experience in other parts of the UK, they said.

“The most important thing we can all do to control the spread of coronavirus is to reduce the number of people are in contact with,” Mark Drakeford said.

“This virus thrives on human behaviour – whenever and wherever we come together and spend time together, the virus can be transmitted from person to person.”

The national measures will continue to be reviewed every three weeks, whatever alert level Wales is currently in.

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