Welsh Gov ‘may need to take further steps’ to tackle Omicron variant, says Drakeford
The Welsh Government “may need to take further steps” to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Mark Drakeford has said.
The First Minister has warned that Wales is “facing a very serious situation” because the fast-spreading form of coronavirus “has the potential to cause a large wave of infections” in the country.
The Welsh Government has moved from a three-week review cycle to a weekly one, which means Wales could face tougher restrictions next week.
He said that this could lead to “large numbers of people” being hospitalised “at a time when our NHS is under significant pressure”.
This comes as the UK’s Covid alert level was raised to four for the first time since May after a joint decision by Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officers.
Drakeford said the “booster dose of the vaccine is “vital” to combat the variant and urged people to make getting one a “priority”.
The Welsh Government is increasing the number of clinics as well as their opening hours, and has asked all available NHS to join vaccine teams.
Mark Drakeford said: “We are learning more about the omicron variant every day.
“This is a fast-moving form of coronavirus, which has the potential to cause a large wave of infections in Wales. This could lead to large numbers of people needing hospital treatment at a time when our NHS is under significant pressure.”
“Our best defence continues to be vaccination. Emerging evidence shows the booster dose is vital.
“We are doing everything we can to accelerate our vaccination programme to increase the number of people who will receive their booster in the coming days and weeks. Older people and those at greatest risk are being prioritised at the moment.
“We are increasing the number of clinics and their opening hours; we have asked all available staff to join vaccination teams to support this national effort.
“Please make having your booster a priority. It will be one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself against coronavirus and this new variant.
“The Cabinet is closely monitoring this rapidly changing public health situation and has moved to a weekly review cycle.
“We are facing a very serious situation and we may need to take further steps to keep Wales safe. I will continue to keep Wales updated.”
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