Wales’ lockdown success ‘offers hope to England’ that Covid-19 infections can be reduced – FT

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The success of Wales’ ‘firebreak’ lockdown “offers hope to England” than its own month-long November lockdown will work, according to a study by the Financial Times.

The rate of infections in Wales dropped from a high of 280 per 100,000 in the week on October 26 to 181 per 100,000 people on November 10-16, and the fall is set to continue, they said.

However the newspaper noted that the Welsh system test and trace system, run by local authorities and the NHS, “has a better record than the outsourced system in England”.

Allyson Pollock, professor of Public Health at the University of Newcastle, told the newspaper that England’s outsourced system was unlikely to catch up, even after its national lockdown ends.

“There needs to be clinical oversight by GPs and directors of public health,” she said.

In Wales, contact tracers reached 90 per cent of those testing positive but only 79 per cent of their close contacts between November 1 and November 7.

England’s system reached 85 per cent of those testing positive and 60 per cent of their contacts.

 

‘Extra measures’

Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru have called for additional support measures for former industrial areas of the south with high infection rates

The ‘Covid Special Support Areas’ would qualify for additional support measures including for those who are clinically vulnerable and can’t work from home, additional test and trace resources, and a top-up to the self-isolation grant to £800.

Specifically, the additional support will benefit areas of the south with high infection rates such as Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent, they said.

“Additional support is needed for those who are clinically vulnerable, who cannot work from home, but who live and work in areas of high Covid-19 prevalence,” Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for the Rhondda said.

“There are parts of our former industrial areas that have had persistently high infection rates, including my constituency. People who can’t work from home but who are clinically vulnerable shouldn’t be put in the situation where they have to choose between risking their health and putting food on the table.

“There are extra measures that can be taken to help everyone in the region – special support areas could automatically be given priority for mass testing programmes and early roll out of vaccines. Self-isolation grants could be increased to £800 to make sure that clinically vulnerable people could afford to stay and home and stay safe.

“It’s clear from the stubbornly high levels of coronavirus infections that a different approach is needed in certain parts of the south, and Plaid Cymru’s motion could not only help get control of infection rates, but help keep our most vulnerable away from harm too.”

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