First Minister brands Boris Johnson’s plan to lift all Covid-19 rules by June as ‘fanciful’
The First Minister has branded Boris Johnson’s plan to lift all Covid-19 rules by June in England as “fanciful”.
Mark Drakeford has predicted that life will not return to normal in 2021 and said that social distancing measures are likely to stay in place in Wales, at least until the end of the year.
This is in contrast to England, where Boris Johnson is pushing for all the Covid-19 rules to be lifted on 21 June, as long as the vaccine roll-out remains successful, and deaths continue to fall.
Drakeford has urged people to “think carefully” about how much they mix with others into the summer and beyond. He is expected to announce the easing of some lockdown measures on Friday.
The First Minister told the i: “I would not wish to hold up the reopening of parts of the Welsh economy because rates elsewhere are not yet in the place that ours are.
When he was asked if like Boris Johnson, he is targeting a return to the pre-pandemic status quo later in the year, he replied: “I don’t think it is realistic to say that. I think coronavirus is with us for the rest of this year.
“A fourth wave is baked into things now – it’s how we deal with that and have a fourth wave that is as suppressed as we can make it so that we don’t have to take the sort of drastic action we’ve had to in the last 12 months.
“But that does mean that things like social distancing, handwashing and respect in the way we deal with other people, thinking carefully about the number of people we mix with – I think that’s with us for the whole of this calendar year.”
Vaccinations will help to limit any further outbreaks but will not be “a complete get-out-of-jail card”, he added.
Former Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns claimed the First Minister’s comments were “alarming” and that they “could undermine the economic recovery in Wales.
He told i: “It seems that he is content to put Wales at a disadvantage – and from experience, he will then blame others for the relative poverty and underinvestment.”