Mark Drakeford and Keir Starmer to address the nation on Omicron variant – at the same time
The First Minister of Wales and the leader of the Labour party are both set to address the public on the need for action to tackle the Omicron Covid variant – at the same time.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has announced that he will address the nation in a pre-recorded message at 7pm tonight, which is expected to be broadcast on BBC One.
However, Mark Drakeford’s address to the nation has been set for the same time slot.
The First Minister’s statement is expected to tackle how the Welsh Government will accelerate booster programme in Wales.
Last night, Boris Johnson announced that the target to offer a vaccine booster to all adults in England was being moved from the end of January to the end of this month.
As we continue to deal with the new Omicron variant, I will be providing an update about our accelerated booster programme on @BBCWalesNews and on social media at 7pm tonight. Diolch.
— Mark Drakeford (@PrifWeinidog) December 13, 2021
Mark Drakeford responded last night by saying the Welsh Government “may need to take further steps” to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The First Minister warned that Wales is “facing a very serious situation” because the fast-spreading form of coronavirus “has the potential to cause a large wave of infections” in the country.
He said that this could lead to “large numbers of people” being hospitalised “at a time when our NHS is under significant pressure”.
This comes as the UK’s Covid alert level was raised to four for the first time since May after a joint decision by Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officers.
Drakeford said the “booster dose of the vaccine is “vital” to combat the variant and urged people to make getting one a “priority”.
The Welsh Government is increasing the number of clinics as well as their opening hours, and has asked all available NHS to join vaccine teams.
Mark Drakeford said: “We are learning more about the omicron variant every day.
“This is a fast-moving form of coronavirus, which has the potential to cause a large wave of infections in Wales. This could lead to large numbers of people needing hospital treatment at a time when our NHS is under significant pressure.”