‘Weeks’ to avoid another national lockdown, Health Minister says

Vaughan Gething speaking and todays’ Coronavirus briefing.

Wales has weeks left to avoid the possibility of another lockdown, according to the Health Minister Vaughan Gething.

He said that Wales was now back in the same position as it was in early February, around seven weeks from the position it was when a national lockdown was imposed at the end of March.

“We think we’re in an equivalent period of time now to the one we faced in early February,” he said. “In early February we faced a position where we didn’t have the range of knowledge that we do now.

“But we went into a national lockdown in essentially the third week of March. So there’s a period of weeks for us to resolve some of the challenges we have.

“We appeal to people to reconsider the choices we’re making, who we’re seeing, how many people we’re seeing.

“Because otherwise, we may need to make more local lockdown choices or potentially a national lockdown, with all the interruption that that causes.”

He said that if cases continue to rise “we may be in a position to make that decision and need to make that decision sooner than the seven-week period of time”.

“It does, I think, say to the public there is a limited period of weeks for us to reconsider the choices we’re making, and to behave in a different way, if we are to avoid more local lockdowns or a national lockdown,” he said.

“You want to engage with people to persuade people but ultimately if people want to break the rules, then they’ll find there are consequences that come from that.”

 

‘Risk-taking’

However, he added that Wales was in a “much better position now” than when the nation initially went into lockdown in March.

“We’ve significantly restocked our provision of PPE, we have a range of orders still to come but we’re in a much better position now than previously,” he said.

“But even with that additional assurance, it’s still the case that we don’t want our health and social care staff using even more significant amounts of PPE, because we want to avoid more cases of covid coming into our health and care system.

“Even with that better provision and the assurance the public should take from that, it should not lead to risk-taking behaviour and avoiding or ignoring the rules.”

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