Restrictions could return amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, Drakeford admits
Restrictions could return to Wales amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, Mark Drakeford has admitted.
The First Minister said he never promised that the easing of restrictions would be a “one way street”.
He suggested that restrictions are not likely to change on Friday, but that the Welsh Government is continuing to monitor the situation.
Cases of coronavirus in the UK are up 13% on the previous seven days, while deaths from the virus averaging over 100 a day.
According to the latest data from Public Health Wales there were another 1,393 cases in Wales the 24 hours leading up to Tuesday, August 24. This brings the total in Wales to 266,149. The weekly national case rate has risen to over 300 for the first time since January.
Denbighshire continues to have the highest case rate in Wales at 430.5, up from 414.8 yesterday, and the rates in Neath Port Talbot (409.6) and Swansea (405.7) have also passed 400 after recording 587 and 1,002 new cases respectively in the seven days up to 19 August.
Public Health Wales have confirmed no further deaths due to Covid in the last 24 hours.
More that 9,500 people have tested positive for Covid in the seven days up to 19 August, increasing the rate to 306.1 per 100,000 people, the highest since it hit 373 over the week ending 10 January during the peak of the second wave of the pandemic.
According to the Office for National Statistics, a 571 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending August 13 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate, which is up 8% on the previous week. It is the highest total since March.
Mark Drakeford told WalesOnline: “We have never said in Wales a move away from restrictions is a one-way street and there was never any turning back.”
‘Reviewed the figures’
He added: “We’ve reviewed the figures again this week, and the cabinet met yesterday. We said two weeks ago that we didn’t intend to make any changes at the end of this week and that’s where I think we will be on Friday.
“At the moment the rising cases is not translating into huge numbers going to the health service, but we watch that every day, and if the circumstances were to get worse and if we did face the health service being under intolerable pressure, then of course we would have to look at the measures we could put in place.
“I think we can have some optimism that the vaccination programme is holding up and is demonstrating its effectiveness in not eliminating the relationship between falling ill and needing hospital treatment, but amending it to an extent that the health service will be able to manage that impact in a way that doesn’t enable us to have to manage restrictions in a way we had to earlier this year.”