Posted: Sun 10th May 2020

First Minister: “Message to the people of Wales hasn’t changed – Staying at home is the best way you can protect yourself”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, May 10th, 2020

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the message to the people of Wales hasn’t changed, “staying at home is the best way you can protect yourself and others.”

His comments come following reports Boris Johnson will launch a new pandemic slogan later today during an address to the nation.

The PM is expected to announce the slight easing of some lockdown rules in England and outline details on a new warning system under the slogan ‘stay alert, control the virus, save lives’.

Alerts will range from green in level one to red in level five, the new system will apply to England only.

The new slogan sees the ‘stay at home’ element from the previous slogan dropped.

Speaking on Sky News this morning, Mark Drakeford made it clear the key message in Wales is still “stay at home” he said:

“I think it is important for people to stay alert because coronavirus has quite certainly not gone away and is going to be with us for a long time ahead. 

I also think that if people are not leaving home for an essential purpose for exercise or to go to work, then people will still be staying at home.

The fewer contacts you have with other people the more you suppress your own risk and the risk to others, so being alert is important but staying at home has not gone away.”

Asked if he thought the stay at the home message of UK government’s current slogan should have been retained, Mr Drakeford said:

“Well, I’m just saying that the message I will be giving to people in Wales is – while they must be alert to the continuing danger of coronavirus – if you’re not out of your house for an essential purpose… staying at home remains the best way that you can protect yourself and others.”

On Friday, it was announced that the lockdown in Wales will be extended for a further three weeks but with some ‘modest’ adjustments including, allowing people to exercise more than once a day and the opening of garden centres.

Asked if he expects to hear similar tweaks from Boris Johnson later today, Mr Drakeford said:

“It’s for the Prime Minister to make the decisions for England not for me to advise him, but his official spokesperson has been emphasising the Prime Minister’s view that maximum caution is still required at this point. 

So I’m broadly expecting that the review of the regulations in England will continue to have that incremental approach to lifting the lockdown rather than anything more dramatic.”

The First Minister said he has not been informed on what measures will be lifted or eased in England, he said:

“I don’t know [what will be announced by Boris Johnson] we did have a discussion with Michael Gove on Friday, which was helpful in illustrating some of the thinking that’s going on inside Downing Street. 

I’ve described the relationship with the UK government as one of fits and starts, when we do it, when there is engagement, it is good, and it is helpful and I wish there could be more of it.

The more we talk to each other, the more we share ideas and perspectives, the better the chance will be that we can do what.”

Asked if he thinks different rules on different sides of the border will be problematic, Mr Drakeford said:

“I don’t want to see fundamentally different rules because that is confusing for people and it makes the basic message hard to convey.

There will always be fine-tuning, that’s the nature of devolution for 20 years, we’ve had different rules on either side of the border, and actually people in Wales are very used to this.”

Echoing the view that messaging in Wales has not changed, Health Minister Vaughan Gething tweeted: “There has not been a 4 nations agreement or discussion on this. The Welsh Government message has not changed. Stay at home and if you do go out observe the social distancing rules.” 

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