Posted: Tue 8th Sep 2020

Health Minister: Action taken in Caerphilly “should be a real wake up call for everybody”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2020

The Health Minister said action taken in South Wales should be a ‘wake up call’ for everyone in Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The briefing was due to be taken by Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton, however this was changed to the Health Minister Vaughan Gething after Caerphilly was declared a local lockdown area. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It also appears that the reduction in Welsh Government briefings to one a week will also be partially reversed in light of an uptick in cases. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The warning came as the Health Minister was asked about the lockdown  by the Caerphilly Observer, and why Welsh Government think people would follow such new rules. Mr Gething said: “While the fact that Caerphilly has been singled out, with the highest rate within Wales and the second highest rate I understand right across the UK for Coronavirus infection, should be a real wake up call for everybody. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“People who thought Coronavirus was no longer a threat should sit up and take notice. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“People in those communities who see behaviour taking place, who see and hear house parties, if they’re going to tell the police about those we expect enforcement action to be taken. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We’ve changed the rules because people are flouting those rules and there’s a real risk of mixing households with community transmission. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Enforcement is there as a backstop, so the force of the law is now in place to make sure that individual households aren’t mixing.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He added: “The first appeal is not just to people’s common sense, but to people’s recognition of a clear and present threat that Coronavirus faces and places upon the country. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I do not want to see a second wave returning. I do not want to return to this press conference each week and have to explain the numbers of infection rates, the numbers of people in hospital and the numbers of people who are losing their lives. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“That is what is at stake. That is why we’ve introduced these new restrictions.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Channel 4 News asked the Health Minister what he would say to those who look at the relatively low levels of hospitalisation and deaths from COVID at the moment, and think that somehow the virus has diminished in potency or poses less of a threat. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Gething said: “It’s perhaps worth looking back at the recent, say the last four weeks in which we got some figures, in Wales four weeks ago, the positivity rate, the number of positive cases for the tests that we were carrying out, was 0.6%. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Across the whole of Wales, we had 132 cases in the weekend ending the 16 August. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Fast forward to the week ending the 6th of September, the positivity rate has gone up to 1.8%. That may not sound like much, but that actually means 406 cases across Wales.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“In Caerphilly though, that’s moved from eight cases in the weekending the 16 August to 133 cases that were announced in the most recent. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Now, that means there are more cases in Caerphilly in the most recent week on the rolling average compared to the whole of Wales four weeks ago. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It shows the significance of the increase in Caerphilly itself. It shows Coronavirus is on the rise and if we do nothing now, we’ll see more people going into hospital over the coming weeks more people with COVID. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I certainly haven’t forgotten what it was like having to make choices in March, April and May when infection rates are going up and up. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“More people are in our hospitals, our ITUs were full, despite the extended capacity we introduced and I was talking to you and colleagues in the press and the public about the number of people dying each week in significant numbers. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“That is what is at risk if we don’t collectively act to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and that underpins the action we’re taking in Caerphilly.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


You can view the full briefing and Q&A session on the below video: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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