Two week ‘stay at home’ circuit breaker being looked at by Welsh government with an announcement expected next week
First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the Welsh government is “looking very carefully at introducing a time-limited firebreak or circuit breaker.”
An announcement is expected early next week.
During this afternoon’s Welsh government press conference Mr Drakeford said: “this would be a short, sharp shock to the virus, which could turn back the clock, slowing down its spread and buying us more time and vital capacity in the health service.”
“We would all have to stay at home, once again, we are considering a two or three-week firebreak and would reset the virus at a lower level.”
“Now these are incredibly difficult decisions, and we have not yet come to a final conclusion about whether a firebreak is the best way to act ministers here will be meeting up the weekend to discuss this further, and we will report the outcome of those decisions to you on Monday.”
“All the indicators we keep a close eye on show that we have reached a critical point, the incidence rates in Wales is now higher and 100 cases per 100,000 people.
The R number for Wales is back up to 1.4. And these figures mean that around 2500 people are being infected every day, and the rise in that number is getting faster, every week. ”
“I want to be clear that these figures would have been much higher if we hadn’t acted quickly and early to put local and national measures in place. We are still in a better place in Wales than in any other part of the United Kingdom.”
“Let me say again that we are considering all this because the situation is so serious that we have no option but to look at new and different ways to keep Wales and to keep you safe.”
Shavanah Taj, General Secretary of Wales TUC told BBC Radio Wales this morning she had an initial meeting yesterday with First Minister Mark Drakeford, which included the CBI and other business organisations, she said: “it seems like we are talking about a stay at home fortnight.”
“It looks as if non essential areas are going to be shut again, we haven’t seen the full list, it is being worked up,” said Shavanah.
“Non essential shops and hospitality are more than likely going to be impacted”
While nothing has been revealed in terms of what a ‘fire break’ lockdown would look like in Wales, it is expected than it would begin when schools break up for the half-term holiday which would be extended for two weeks.
Like the initial UK wide lockdown in March, all hospitality and non-essential retail would close and people would be asked stay at home.
It’s a move which would be welcomed by Doctors’ leader in Wales who say current restrictions are “not strong enough to suppress the spread of the virus.
A national lockdown would begin when schools break up for the half term holiday which would be extended for two weeks.
Like the initial UK wide lockdown in March, all hospitality and non essential retail would close and people would be asked stay at home.
It’s a move which would be welcomed earlier by a Doctors’ leader in Wales who said current restrictions are “not strong enough to suppress the spread of the virus.”
Dr David Bailey, BMA Cymru Wales council chair, said:
“Cases are climbing fast across Wales with the latest figures showing that the number of Covid-related patients in the Welsh NHS has risen by 49% in a week, it’s clear that the current restrictions are not strong enough to suppress the spread of the virus.
We welcome the move to introduce a travel ban from Covid hotspots, but at this critical point, doctors in Wales support, and are calling for as a matter of urgency, a circuit breaker lockdown for a number of weeks.
“It is imperative that robust action is taken now without delay, to protect the citizens of Wales, and the Welsh NHS. We have witnessed the destruction that the first wave of the pandemic brought with it – too many lives have been lost already and doctors, nurses and frontline health staff are still dealing with fatigue and burnout as a result of their huge sacrifices during this time.
“A second peak alongside the added pressure that the winter season will inevitably bring and the huge backlog of patients already in the system is quite frankly an overwhelming prospect. Our members are deeply concerned about the ability of the service to cope.
“Bringing in stronger restrictions in Wales at this point is essential, but restrictions must be accompanied by a longer-term national prevention strategy.
Paul Davies MS, Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament said: “The Welsh Government’s handling of this announcement is causing major concern to people across Wales, especially to the most lonely in our society and businesses who are struggling to recover from the pandemic. Clarity is urgently needed over the Welsh Government’s circuit breaker.”
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