Lockdown in Wales to continue for another three weeks but some rules relaxed – First Minister

Mark Drakeford’s coronavirus announcement.

The lockdown in Wales will continue for another three weeks, but some libraries, recycling centres and garden centres will be allowed to re-open and rules on exercise will be relaxed.

However, there was also an announcement that there would be a clampdown on those abusing the rules to travel elsewhere for exercise.

He also described a “fits and starts” experience of working with the UK Government, and called for more consistent access to ministers.

“The advice we have received from the Chief Medical Officer is that it is too soon to lift these restrictions,” the First Minister Mark Drakeford said.

“If we allowed the virus to spiral up out of control” we would see an additional 7,200 deaths rather than the expected 800, he said. “We must not lose the progress we have made.

“We will watch the level in the community like a hawk. If there is any sign that it is increasing we will re-impose some of the restrictions,” he said in response to one question.

“If it has unintended consequences we will intervene again.”

 

‘Careful’

But he said that there were “small and modest” changes that could be made on Monday in order to “move in step” with the rest of the United Kingdom without allowing the virus to spread faster.

  • The risk of infection is reduced outdoors so people could go outside to exercise more than once a day. However, it should not involve travel away from home
  • Garden centres could re-open as long as 2m social distancing rule is applied
  • Local authorities could begin planning how safely to reopen libraries and recycling centres

He said his announcement was not an attempt to place a restraint on Boris Johnson in England. It will be for the Prime Minister to decide the steps taken in England, he said.

It is unclear as of yet to what extent Mark Drakeford’s statement will tally with Boris Johnson’s announcement at 7pm on Sunday.

But Mark Drakeford said that after talking to Boris Johnson he did not expect to see anything but the most modest changes across the UK.

“The Prime Minister wants to announce very careful changes,” he said.

He said that after the announcement on Sunday he will “set out how that will work in Wales” and that the Welsh Government would be “part of that conversation”.

But he also said working with the UK Government has been a “fits and starts experience”. “We tend to get it and then it doesn’t happen for a while. It would be better if there was a regular and reliable pattern.”

‘Not essential’

Responding to a question about reopening schools he said that he was comfortable with schools in Wales being closed while those in England open.

“I am very comfortable that we will maintain a four nations approach but we will maintain some differences.,” he said. “There are already differences because education is devolved across the United Kingdom.”

Responding to a question about people travelling to Wales for the Bank Holiday weekend, he said he was very clear that people should not travel.

“Wales remains in lockdown,” he said. “Nothing has changed over the weekend. A journey to the beach or a mountain is not essential travel. The police will send people home. Don’t do it.”

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Nigel Plouseorfenni61max wallisE WilliamsHuw Davies Recent comment authors
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Roger
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Roger

Well I have had notification from Sainsbury’s a fortnight ago that they have had notification from Government I am on most vulnerable list for shopping. Yet I have had no official notification at all. Confused.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Maybe you’re one of the few thousand classed as vulnerable whose letters apparently were inadvertently sent to a previous address because the powers-that-be used an out of date data base? They didn’t make the same mistake with the data base in informing supermarkets and local authorities, which could explain why Sainsbury’s know and you don’t.

If I remember rightly, the government advice was to ring your GP to make sure, because s/he’d have been the person who’d have notified Public Health Wales about your vulnerable status health-wise.

Good luck!

Kerry Davies
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Kerry Davies

We originally had difficulties because Tesco were given a list only of English addressees, not a single Welsh or Scots customer was on there. They sorted it pretty quickly and we have had three deliveries at fortnightly intervals. We have been regular home delivery customers since her indoors fell really ill some years ago.

It may help to know that I am 71 with severe COPD and am vulnerable but am not shielded which is the correct term. Her indoors has been in an ICU twice in three years so she is on the shielded list.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

“Fits and starts”. Yes, Mr Drakeford, what a bunch they are!

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Minor relaxations. Fair enough. Sufficiently clear for any prospective long distance visitors, holiday travellers etc minded to sneak in to Wales – Don’t unpack, your going back !

Tudor Rees
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Tudor Rees

The latest speculation is that Boris will now introduce a 14 day quarantine period for UK arrivals. “Horse” and “Stable Door” leap to mind! If this mirrored in the EU, a 2 week holiday in Spain or Greece would need 6 weeks leave. 2 weeks quarantine on arrival there, 2 weeks holiday, when you are allowed out of the hotel, and 2 weeks quarantine on return to the UK. We may see Welsh resorts swamped by less than happy people from England who really wanted to be on the Med, Not good!

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Now is the time for quarantine, or so the speculation goes. You are dead right about stable doors. Read somewhere that since lockdown began, some 3 million inward air journeys to UK have recorded yet only about 300 people were put into 2 weeks’ “custody”. Unbelievable but not inconsistent with what we’ve witnessed from the blunderers who are allegedly in control. But there again many of our leaders will flit off on private jets to private discreet secure accommodation and will evade such inconvenience.

E Williams
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E Williams

There seem to be more and more car and foot, traffic around Snowdon every walk I take. Making me think the Police have been told to lay low and use social media PR lip service only

When tangible relaxation arrives, many around here will wish the tourists would fly off to the med. As they themselves will when forming a compact orderly queue up Snowdon and every other honeypot location around Gwynedd.

max wallis
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max wallis

Drakeford should over-ride any advice from Wales’s Chief Medical Officer. He’s on a mission – to conceal the Covid epidemic in Welsh care-homes; his failures in testing and his failure to produce Welsh statistics like in NI, where 60% deaths are in care-homes. A scandalous failure!

orfenni61
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orfenni61

I know there have been some embarassing gaffes like scrapping the testing target, 2 out of 4 health boards faiiling to return accurate figures etc. but overall I think the WAG has handled this crisis reasonably well. Certainly better than the Westminster Goverment who are in full Brexit mode – i.e. we’re better than anyone else and don’t need to pay any regard to what they do, because we’ll go it alone and do things our way. Four invites from EU to join their procurement bid for PPE? You’re having a laugh aren’t you? Why on earth would GB need… Read more »

Nigel Plouse
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Nigel Plouse

Mark Drakeford is lying when he says the Welsh people don’t envy England. He’s got us in lockdown for political reasons (against the Conservative BRITISH Government) and for personal reasons, i.e. he loves to control people.