Updated: Wales may be about to adopt a 4-tier local restriction system and second ‘firebreak’ lockdown
Latest: An updated version of Wales’ covid control plan will be published next week, the First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
The plan sets out in detail how national measures will be introduced in a more uniform and predictable way, depending on a range of indicators, including the level of the virus in Wales and the risk of infection.
It updates the approach to changing restrictions set out in Leading Wales out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and Unlocking Our Society and Economy.
The plan will be published and voted on early next week.
During today’s Welsh government press conference the first minister said that “if strengthened national measures, together with the efforts everyone is making, do not succeed in reducing the rates of coronavirus, Wales will need to move to alert level four after the five-day Christmas period.”
Wales is currently at alert level three. The national measures were strengthened on December 4 in response to rapidly accelerating levels of coronavirus across Wales.
The plan sets out four alert levels – from alert level one to alert level four:
- Alert level one (low-risk) – this represents the closest to normality we are likely to have before the summer and the widespread take-up of vaccinations.
- Alert level two (medium-risk) – additional, targeted controls are put in place to maintain infection rates at lower levels. These may be complemented by more targeted local restrictions to manage specific incidents and outbreaks.
- Alert level three (high-risk) – these are the strictest package of restrictions, short of a firebreak or lockdown.
- Alert level four (very high risk) – restrictions at this level are equivalent to a lockdown and reflect the seriousness of the situation.
Earlier report: Wales could be about to adopt a four tier local restriction system and a second firebreak lockdown from 28 December broadcaster LBC has claimed.
In a story published on Thursday evening, LBC Radio cites an “industry source” who has told them “a final decision has not yet been made but the Welsh Cabinet has met to discuss the move.”
The article also claims Wales could move to a “to a 4-tier system that will be reviewed every three weeks.”
LBC said it was told the plan is “due to immense pressure on the NHS and infection rates rising in all Welsh local authority (LA’s) areas.”
The broadcaster goes onto to say a firebreak lockdown would “initially be a nationwide approach, however ministers are considering LA-specific tiers in the medium-term.”
The “source” gave more specific details saying:
“The tiers will broadly be as follows: Tier 1 – low risk, equivalent to the situation we had in the summer; Tier 2 – medium risk, equivalent to the situation we had post-firebreak; Tier 3 – high risk, equivalent to the situation we have now; Tier 4 – very high risk, equivalent to a firebreak/lockdown,” the source said.
They continued: “It is likely that Wales will be placed into Tier 4 as of 28 December.
“The decision will be based on a number of factors – confirmed case rates, projection of case incidence rate over the following two weeks, rate of change in cases and positivity rates and hospital capacity.
“Broadly speaking, case rates under 50 would likely be Tier 1, 50-150 Tier 2, 150-300 Tier 3 and over 300 Tier 4.
“The tiers will be reviewed every three weeks.”
Conservative MS and shadow health minister Andrew RT Davies told LBC: “There are rumors at the moment that this is going to be potentially announced in the coming days that there will be a third lockdown or fire break depending on what language you want to use as of December the 28th.”
“There are some pretty grim figures coming out about obviously death rates and infection rates here in Wales regrettably, and huge pressure on the hospital and care system across Wales.”
Across Wales there are more than 1,800 coronavirus related patients in hospital – higher than the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April.
The current all Wales rolling seven day infection rate is currently at 381 per 100,000, which is a sharp increase on the numbers seen immediately after the two week firebreak which ended four weeks ago.
In England, which has just come out of a four week lockdown that rate stands at 165 per 100,000 and Scotland, where tough regional measures are in place, the rate as of Thursday is 102 per 100,000.
UK nations by highest number of COVID-19 positives per 100k population.
— UK COVID-19 (@UKCovid19Stats) December 10, 2020
Unions representing frontline healthcare workers have joined forces to highlight the impact the rise coronavirus cases is having on the staff providing care, and are urging the public to do all they can to protect the NHS.
“Staff are truly exhausted, mentally and physically, and they are extremely concerned about what January will bring.”
“All we ask, as we have done throughout the pandemic, is that when you make your choices about Christmas, you take the risk seriously and minimise contact as much as possible. Covid-19 has not gone away.” They say
Restrictions in Wales are set to be relaxed between 23 and 27 December across the UK to allow up three households to meet.
Yesterday education minister Kirsty Williams confirmed secondary schools and colleges in Wales will move to online learning from Monday in ‘national effort to reduce transmission of coronavirus.’
The current rules, which have seen hospitality businesses forced to close at 6pm and a ban on alcohol, are set to be reviewed next Thursday and any announcement on a another lockdown and tier system could be made next Friday.
However North.Wales notes this morning that discussions are taking place with North Wales local authorities today.
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Discussions taking place with local authorities in North Wales over a possible four ‘Tier’ system for Wales, unclear if it would be North / South but appears pushback on a per-local authority level. Possible announcement lunchtime, or Monday depending how discussions go.
— North.Wales (@northdotwales) December 11, 2020
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