Wales could use school half term for ‘circuit breaker’ national lockdown, Health Minister says

Vaughan Gething speaking at a Coronavirus briefing.

Wales could use the school half term for a “circuit breaker” national lockdown, according to the Health Minister Vaughan Gething.

He told BBC Breakfast that such a move was a “a potential way forward that we’re actively considering”.

“Many people are pointing to the school half-term as a potential way to introduce a break if we were going to do so,” he said.

“It’s a potential way forward that we’re actively considering and over the coming few days we’re going to need to make some choices about whether we’re going to do that or not…

“The next few days will be very important but we’re getting specific advice tailored to Wales to understand what that might look like.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for a short lockdown or “circuit-breaker” in England of two to three weeks to bring the rising rate of coronavirus under control.

And yesterday Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford called for a cross-UK discussion on using a “circuit-breaker” lockdown in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the First Minister of Scotland and the First Minister of Northern Ireland, he suggests a meeting to discuss the possibility.

 

‘Effective’

A “circuit breaker” lockdown was recommended to the government by their scientific advisors three weeks ago, newly published documents revealed today.

Minutes from a 21 September meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), published on the government website on Monday night, showed that a short period of lockdown was at the top of a list of measures to be considered for “immediate introduction”.

SAGE, which has provided scientific and technical advice to ministers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, warned that “not acting now” would result in a “very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences” amid a rising number of coronavirus cases.

In his letter, Mark Drakeford said that the advice “reflected the considerable work on circuit-breaker measures carried out by SAGE, which can be effective in the circumstances we are now seeing in various parts of the UK”.

“As I suggested yesterday, we should discuss collectively what circuit-breaker options might best serve to bring the virus – and the R number – under control across the UK,” the First Minister said.

“I would therefore request again that you urgently convene a further meeting of COBR(M) specifically to discuss circuit-breaker measures.”

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