Wales could end lockdown earlier than rest of the UK, First Minister says

Mark Drakeford. Picture by Christopher Jones / Alamy Stock Photo

Wales could come out of the lockdown earlier than the rest of the UK, according to First Minister Mark Drakeford.

In an interview with the Guardian Mark Drakeford said he had the power to start enacting his own plan to ease restrictions if he thinks it is in the best interest of Wales.

He said the Coronavirus Act 2020 allows the devolved nations to go their own way and it may now be time to consider putting that into action.

He also said that the UK Government needed to do more to keep in contact with the leaders of the devolved nations and called on No 10 to invite them to a Cobra meeting before the weekend.

Eight deaths were recorded in Wales today, and the country is thought to have hit the ‘peak’ of deaths around mid-April.

“We have the power to do it, definitely. I’d rather we did it together,” Mark Drakeford said.

“If we can’t get to that point and we think there are things that are right to do for Wales then we will go ahead and do that but my ambition is that we do things still together across the United Kingdom.

“The Coronavirus Act does respect devolution. It puts the solution in our own hands and we have already done things differently in a range of different matters where that’s been right for us.”

Drakeford said that he had been in regular talks with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and both countries have now released their own roadmaps to easing lockdown.

 

‘Above and beyond’

Today, Health Minister Vaughan Gething confirmed that financial support of £60,000 will be provided to an eligible beneficiary of frontline staff working in the NHS and Social Care, should they die in service as a result of Covid-19.

The scheme will see eligible beneficiaries receive a one-off sum of £60,000 and will apply particularly to those working in frontline roles and locations where personal care is provided to individuals who may have contracted Covid-19.

The scheme is non-contributory and there are no additional costs to employers. The payment will be made in addition to any existing benefits already earned through existing pension scheme membership.

The scheme would be time-limited, providing cover for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and will retrospectively apply from the 25th March 2020.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Our frontline workers in the NHS and social care sector are going above and beyond to deliver care and services for patients and to the most vulnerable in our communities across Wales. Their bravery on the frontline of this pandemic is something the whole nation is thankful and proud of.

“The introduction of this scheme I hope will provide peace of mind that their family and loved ones will be supported should the worst happen.”

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Huw DaviesJohn BigbootayJonathan GammondJohnRhosddu Recent comment authors
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Royston Jones
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He’s either got to end lockdown at the same time as England or earlier. To do it later than England would lead to an influx of tourists and ‘seasonal property’ owners resulting in confrontations up and down the western side of the country. (With dangerous possible consequences.) Drakeford therefore has little choice in the matter, making whatever he says just more vacuous twittering.

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

They’ll be back eventually, but they won’t get polite reception they’re used to. People won’t forget.

John
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John

I agree Rhosddu..

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Such a suggestion will upset the left wing jackboot tendency who want lockdown to go on interminably and to be used as a weapon against tourists, 2nd home owners, business people, self employed, the English etc etc, ie all those who contribute the most to the tax base of the economy. They assumed Drakeford would be steadfast against Tory calls to stop lockdown crashing the economy.
I suppose we’ll have to wait for a bit longer for the socialist nirvana that perpetual lockdown represents.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Set aside your phobias, P.c . Whether we wean ourselves off sooner or later should be dictated by conditions on the ground. If the regional virus peaks are seen moving east > west then it is logical to wean the eastern regions off first i.e S.E England. However it get much more complex if, say, the virus is radiating from a number of the larger metropolitan areas. I don’t see much evidence from U.K or Cardiff regimes that they have a grip on risk evaluations in such circumstances. If we go ahead my money is on a second round of… Read more »

John
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John

Its funny. I read this today in the Guardian.. and it seemed like such a change from what he’s been saying previously.. Yet a look at Wales online and its a different story.. I think the Guardians been making stuff up

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

Let’s hope the politicians in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and elsewhere can cooperate and coordinate their plans and messages. The mixed messaging that will go out if they start diverging will rapidly ensure that none of them will be able to communicate effectively.
Considering how the virus was spreading around the UK it was possibly the case that the lockdown was fortunely implemented on time in Wales but later than it should have been elsewhere.

John Bigbootay
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John Bigbootay

Oh look, Wales is a guinea pig in another one of England’s research projects. Yay?