UK Government ‘surprised’ as Wales announces lockdown extension

Housing Minister Julie James

The UK Government was “surprised” by the Welsh Government’s announcement that the lockdown in Wales will be extended beyond next week.

Sky News’ Deputy Political Editor, Sam Coates, said that no UK Government announcement on continuing the lockdown is imminent and that Number 10 Downing Street “appeared surprised” that the Welsh Government had taken a unilateral decision to extend the lockdown here.

Housing Minister Julie James AM told the daily briefing on Wednesday: “We are definitely extending the lockdown, it will not be raised next week”.

 

‘Update’

The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford later said that the lockdown announced two weeks ago “is having an impact”.

“The efforts we are making are not yet over, measures will stay in place next week,” he said.

Health is a devolved matter in Wales and the Welsh Government has announced measures to tackle coronavirus independently of the UK Government, including 2m physical distancing at work where feasible.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said employers “must put the needs of their workforce first, that their health and wellbeing must be top of their agenda, and the two-metre rule is there to protect that”.

The UK Government said this lunchtime that the lockdown will be reviewed next week. Boris Johnson initially said the lockdown would be reviewed after three weeks, which falls on Easter Monday.

His spokesman said today: “I have always said that it should not be on a specific day but yes it will be on or around the three-week mark. We have said there will be an update and there is no change to that timetable.”

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