Too optimistic yet to say that vaccines will stop third wave of Delta variant hospitalisations, Drakeford says
It’s too optimistic at the moment to say that vaccines have broken the link between falling ill with new Delta variant of coronavirus and hospitalisations, the First Minister has said.
He said that we do not know enough about the new variant yet to be confident that all Covid restrictions could be done away with.
“The position is that I think it’s too optimistic to say that vaccines have broken the link between falling ill and hospitalisation with the new Delta variant,” he told Newsnight.
“We really don’t know that sufficiently to be confident that the vaccine is going to defend us in exactly that way.
“Wales is very largely free already. The great majority of things they weren’t able to do before, they’re free to do already. The most risky things are the thing we have not yet opened up.
“And we won’t open them up until we are confident that doing so would not put at peril all the things we have managed to achieve together.
“The people of Wales will want to be sure that before we take any further measures we’ve assessed the risk, we’re confident that it is in the public interest to raise those measures, and that we know that the impact of doing so would not be to undermine the huge efforts that people in Wales have made.”
Public Health Wales warned yesterday that people should to stick to social distancing rules and to take up the offer of a vaccine following the significant increase in the number of Delta variant cases on Wednesday.
A total of 178 cases of the variant, originally identified in India in April, have been detected in Wales, an increase of 81 since last Thursday.
Health officials say there are early signs of localised community transmission of the variant, which had initially centred around a cluster of cases in north and south Wales, which could be driven by increased social mixing.
“The spread of the Delta variant in Wales is a reminder that we should not become complacent, even as rates of Coronavirus across Wales remain low, Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Coronavirus response at Public Health Wales, said.
His comments came after medics in India said they believe have identified three new symptoms of the Delta variant.
Medical experts believe diarrhoea, hearing impairment and blood clots that can lead to gangrene have been linked to cases of infection from the Delta variant.
Yesterday the Health Secretary said that the Delta variant now comprises 91% of cases of coronavirus in the UK.
The UK Government have suggsted that they may need to delay lifting the lockdown in England as a result of the rise in cases.
The Times reports ministers are considering a four-week delay to a full reopening in England to give businesses and people certainty.