Drakeford says he won’t rule out stopping travel in and out of Wales to halt Indian variant but ‘too drastic’ at the moment
Mark Drakeford has said that he will not rule out calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stop travel in and out of areas where the Indian variant of coronavirus is spreading quickly, or placing restrictions on movement in and out of Wales himself.
But the difference between now and the autumn when he last placed restrictions on travel was that the Indian variant was an “emerging” variant that they did not know enough about and that stopping people travelling in and out of Wales was too “drastic”.
He said he was still expecting a third wave of Covid in the summer but did not expect it to be of the same magnitude as the last two waves, and would not require such a “blunt” lockdown.
“I have never used the word irreversible to describe the path we are on out of coronavirus,” he says. “If the evidence changes and new risks emerge that will have an impact on our ability to lift restrictions.”
Further lockdown easing could be coming at the start of June, including larger events, but that will depend on the impact of the coronavirus Indian variant, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford that “delay is a genuine consideration” but that he would be able to ease rules further “if things continue to be as good as they are in Wales today”.
That included looking at relaxing rules around meeting people in their homes, increasing number of people at wedding receptions and restarting larger events.
He said that we had seen examples across the world where a relatively positive position had become more difficult. He added that the spread of the Indian variant was “almost entirely the result of international travel”.
He said that the Indian variant has caused 26 cases in Wales so far, and there were significant unanswered questions about it.
“We are not overly concerned with position in Wales, but there has been a significant spread of that variant across our border,” he said.
“We do have vaccination as a tool at our disposal this year. And if there’s more we need to do and if we need to calibrate our vaccination programme we will do so.
There’s a lot for us to learn to be more sure how the variant will spread.”