First Minister reveals ‘Covid Urgent’ plan and says restrictions could return this winter
Restrictions could return this winter under a planning scenario called ‘Covid Urgent’, the First Minister has said.
Mark Drakeford will tomorrow publish new plans to help keep Wales “open and safe” during autumn and winter.
‘Covid Urgent’ is a plan to deal with the emergence of a new, fast-spreading variant or a fall in immunity levels, both of which could cause a rise in pandemic pressures which risk overwhelming the NHS.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s press conference, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We are facing a challenging winter ahead – coronavirus hasn’t gone away and flu is forecast to return this winter.
“Vaccination is the best defence we have against coronavirus – the more people who are fully vaccinated, the better our chances of controlling the spread of this awful virus.
“We will continue to focus our efforts on increasing take up of the Covid-19 vaccine across the age and priority groups and rolling out the booster vaccine too. We also encourage everyone who is eligible, to have their flu jab this year.”
The Welsh Government is publishing an updated Coronavirus Control Plan, which outlines the key actions, which could be put in place to control the spread of the virus.
The plan sets out two planning scenarios for the pandemic over the winter – in the first, called Covid Stable, Wales remains at alert level zero through the autumn and winter, with all businesses able to open.
This is thought to be the most likely scenario for the future, as we become used to living with coronavirus and we gradually move out of the pandemic to a position where the virus becomes a seasonal illness.
Under this scenario, if case rates fall, measures could be relaxed further in response, and if they rise, some existing measures could be strengthened to protect people’s health.
Under the second planning scenario, called Covid Urgent, the alert level system and restrictions would be used proportionately, but as a last-resort means to protect people’s health, control the spread of infections and to protect the NHS.
Wales will remain at alert level zero for at least the next three weeks, following the latest review of the coronavirus regulations. This means all businesses are open and Wales has the lowest level of restrictions.
As well as the vaccine Mark Drakeford said that there were a range of other measures people could take to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Help keep Wales safe:
- Get your Covid-19 vaccines, including your booster when invited
- Get tested and self-isolate if you have symptoms
- Outdoors is safer than indoors
- Keep your distance when you can
- Wash your hands regularly
- Wear a face covering in indoor public places
- Keep indoor places well-ventilated
- Work from home whenever possible
- Use a Covid Pass in nightclubs and large events.
“These measures have helped keep us safe throughout the pandemic and they will also help to protect us from other winter viruses, such as flu and other respiratory infections,” Mark Drakeford said.
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