“Covid Stable” plan for Wales to help keep country “open and safe” during predicted difficult winter
Wales will remain at alert level zero for the next three weeks, following the latest review of the coronavirus regulations.
However First Minister, Mark Drakeford, will publish new plans tomorrow to help keep Wales “open and safe” during what is expected to be a difficult autumn and winter period.
The Welsh Government is publishing an updated Coronavirus Control Plan, which outlines the key actions, which could be put in place to control the spread of the virus.
Under alert level zero, which Wales has been in since August, all businesses are open and Wales has the lowest level of restrictions. This is expected to continue throughout winter unless there is a considerable rise in cases.
The latest version of the Coronavirus Control Plan sets out two planning scenarios for the pandemic over the winter – in the first, called “Covid Stable”, Wales remains at alert level zero through the autumn and winter, with all businesses able to open.
The Welsh Government believe this most likely scenario for the future, as society adjusts to living with coronavirus and we gradually move out of the pandemic to a position where the virus becomes a seasonal illness.
Under this scenario, if case rates fall, measures could be relaxed further in response, and if they rise, some existing measures could be strengthened to protect people’s health.
The second planning scenario, called Covid Urgent, is designed to deal with any sudden changes to the situation, caused by the emergence of a new, fast-spreading variant or if vaccine immunity levels fall, causing a rise in pandemic pressures, which risk overwhelming the NHS.
In such a scenario, the alert level system and restrictions would be used, but as a last-resort means, to protect people’s health, control the spread of infections and to protect the NHS.
Speaking ahead of his press conference at lunchtime, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We are facing a challenging winter ahead – coronavirus hasn’t gone away and flu is forecast to return this winter.
“Vaccination is the best defence we have against coronavirus – the more people who are fully vaccinated, the better our chances of controlling the spread of this awful virus.
“We will continue to focus our efforts on increasing take up of the Covid-19 vaccine across the age and priority groups and rolling out the booster vaccine too. We also encourage everyone who is eligible, to have their flu jab this year.
“There is also a range of other measures we can all take to help protect ourselves and our loved ones, such as washing our hands, reducing the number of people we meet and wearing a face covering in indoor public places.
“These measures have helped keep us safe throughout the pandemic and they will also help to protect us from other winter viruses, such as flu and other respiratory infections.”
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