Wales’ firebreak lockdown ‘best chance’ to save Christmas, Health Minister says

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething. Photo by Ymnes is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wales’ 17-day firebreak lockdown is needed to ensure the “best chance” that people will be able to shop and see each other over Christmas, the Health Minister has said.

The temporary lockdown period came into effect at 6pm last night, and will last until midnight on November 9.

Vaughan Gething said it was necessary to reduce the R rate, which is currently higher than 1, and that new measures will come into effect when the period ends.

“We want to have a Christmas where people can see each other,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“This gives us the best chance to do that, but if I were to tell you today what Christmas would look like, then I would guess, give people false hope, and we shouldn’t be doing that at all.

“Trust between the public, the Health Service and the ministers who make decisions is extremely important.

“That’s why we publish so much information, that’s why we don’t make big promises when asked to predict the future some months in advance.”

 

‘Greater loss’

According to Vaughan Gething, there are now 156.8 infections per 100,000 population in Wales. Only one county, Ceredigion, is below the threshold of 50 cases per 100,000.

“It’s not just about the direct cost within the temporary lockdown period, when we know there will be a challenge and a loss in terms of economic activity,” Vaughan Gething said.

“It is a matter of preventing a much greater loss if we had longer, deeper and more continuous measures.

“We also recognize that the period leading up to the end of the year is also extremely significant for the economy.”

Preventing a Covid-19 spike would be “good news for the economy at a critical time of year,” he said.

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