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First Minister praises Wales’ ‘huge collective effort in 2020’ in New Year message

31 Dec 2020 3 minute read
Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford. Picture by the Welsh Government

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has thanked the people of Wales for the “huge collective effort” which marked the fight against Covid-19 in 2020.

He singled out frontline workers, including NHS and care workers, for special praise.

He added that at the end of “one of the most difficult years we have faced” he hoped for “a better, healthier and safer year ahead” in 2021.

The first people would receive their second vaccine in the first weeks of the new year, and more people would receive the first as the  Oxford-AstraZeneca rolls out, he said.

However, he warned that there would be more challenges in 2021 “and the virus will have more surprises for us”.


The First Minister’s New Year message

As we end the year, it is a moment when we all reflect on what has been an extraordinary time and look forward to what we a hope will be a better, healthier and safer year ahead.

2020 has been one of the most difficult years we have faced thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world has not seen a public health emergency of this sort for more than 100 years.

It has tested our strength, our resilience and our determination.

Tens of thousands of people have experienced the virus first-hand.

All our lives have been turned upside down.

But, very sadly, for many families, lives have not just been disrupted, they have been lost: loved ones have been taken away by this cruel virus, which continues to grip communities across Wales.

I want to pause for a moment to reflect on the huge collective effort, which we have seen here in Wales in 2020.

Families and neighbours have supported each other.

A small army of volunteers has shopped, run errands and picked up medicines for people who were shielding and vulnerable.

And frontline workers – from shop workers to our NHS and carers – have rightly made us proud of their commitment to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Now, as we look ahead, the New Year brings with it the promise of a different approach to this virus.

In a bleak year, there were bright moments of hope – and none brighter than the arrival of the vaccine in the last weeks of the year.

In the first weeks of the New Year, the first people to receive the vaccine will complete their two-dose course.

And more clinics will open as the second vaccine has now been approved, speeding up the rollout of protection.

There will be more challenges in 2021 and the virus will have more surprises for us.

But we will be with you every step of the way.

And together, we will keep you safe and keep Wales safe.

Diolch o galon i chi gyd.

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