Posted: Fri 19th Jun 2020

Claims North Wales hit worse by coronavirus than any other region branded ‘misleading’ by Welsh Health Minister

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jun 19th, 2020

Claims that North Wales has been hit worse by coronavirus than any other region have been described as “misleading” by Wales’ Health Minister.

The latest figures released by Public Health Wales show the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area has the highest number of deaths of any part of the country, with 338 people now known to have died with COVID-19.

However, Vaughan Gething said other locations in south east Wales had been impacted harder by the pandemic in proportion to their population.

Questions were raised over how the virus has impacted the north of the country at today’s daily Welsh Government press conference.

It followed the announcement that the 2 Sisters chicken processing plant on Anglesey had been temporarily closed due to an outbreak at the facility.

He said: “There’s been a later peak in coronavirus in North Wales, but it’s been a lower peak that in the south east of Wales.

“Whilst the overall numbers are higher in North Wales, actually because the North Wales health board is the largest health board, it sort of gives a misleading impression actually.

“The hardest hit health board areas in Wales have been in the south east corner.

“Aneurin Bevan, Cwm Taf Morgannwg, Cardiff and Vale and even the Swansea Bay Health Board has had in terms of population share, a more significant impact than North Wales. Actually Betsi is underneath the Welsh average.”

Around 51 workers at the 2 Sisters factory are understood to have contracted COVID-19, with more than 200 people said to be self-isolating.

It has led the company to temporarily suspend production with immediate effect for a period of 14 days.

Alyn and Deeside politicians have called for all employees at 2 Sisters Food Group site in Sandycroft to be tested for COVID-19 following a coronavirus outbreak at an Anglesey site.

Member of Parliament for Deeside Mark Tami and Member of the Senedd Jack Sargeant have written to the bosses at 2 Sisters following claims staff from the Sandycroft site are being “bussed in” to the Llangefni chicken processing factory to “help with production pressures.”

In response to questions raised over the outbreak earlier on in the conference, Mr Gething said it reinforced the message that people should keep following public health guidance.

He later said the regional differences showed the reason for the government’s cautious approach to easing lockdown.

He said: “The challenge here is how we learn from that and how we don’t take an approach that sees those figures move in different directions.

“That’s why we continue to take a deliberately cautious approach to coming out of lockdown.

“That’s why I’m not prepared to see all of our field hospital network dismantled and it’s why we need to make those choices in a rounded way across the government and here within the health portfolio.

“I’m committed as a leader of the government to continue to act in any and every way possible to keep Wales safe.”

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