Local lockdowns to move to national measures when fire break ends on November 9th
First minister Mark Drakeford has said a simpler set of “national rules” will replace local lockdown rules once the the two week fire break is over on November 9th.
Flintshire went into a local lockdown on October 1 following a spike in the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the county.
It meant residents were not able to travel out of the county without a valid reason amid concerns over growing infection rates.
The fire break, introduced last Friday has seen tougher Wales wide restrictions implemented, its hoped the two week lockdown will bring “coronavirus back under control.”
During today’s Welsh government press conference Mr Drakeford confirmed the fire break will end on November 9th with shops, bars restaurants and gyms being permitted to reopen.
He said ministers in Wales have been meeting this week and decided not to return to the “network of local restrictions.”
Instead, he said, “we will put in place a simpler set of national rules that are easier for everybody to understand to help keep us safe and keep the virus under control.
Opening this afternoon’s press conference the first minister said: “The latest figures we have in Wales showed just how serious a situation we face and how necessary it was to introduce the fire break period.”
“Today there are more than 220 cases of coronavirus for every 100,000 people living in Wales.”
“A further 1700 cases of coronavirus will be confirmed, but we know that the actual incidence will be higher than that.”
“The number of people with coronavirus in hospitals in Wales is now back to the highest point since the end of April.”
“The latest information from the NHS is at 1191 beds occupied by people with coronavirus symptoms. That is more than 20% higher than just one week ago.”
The first minister said there were many times during the summer, “when I was able to come here and report to you that we had gone through many days in a row with not a single death here in Wales from coronavirus.”
“I cannot express the sorrow I feel having to say to you today that more than 80 families this week alone are experiencing the pain, the grief and the loss that comes from a disease that we had not even heard about this time last year, taking their loved ones away from them.” He said.
“This rapidly accelerating pattern tells us how the virus was circulating in Wales up to two weeks ago because it can take up to a fortnight for people to become ill with coronavirus.
What the pattern of transmission is telling us is just how quickly the virus has moved across Wales over the last few weeks.”
Mr Drakeford said it shows “just how important and just how necessary this fire break period has been and our hope has is that the actions we are all taking will change the course of this disease.”
“In the weeks that follow the fire break we will see its full impact.”
The first minister said that many people contacted him “asking about what Christmas will look like in Wales, and it’s a special time for so many people.”
“That is why we have acted now in October and November so that we have the hope that in December we can have a Christmas with coronavirus brought back under control.”
“I repeat, again, that the fire break period will end on 9th November, shops, bars and restaurants, will reopen gyms will reopen students will go back to school, churches, and places of worship, will resume services, community centers will be available for small groups to meet safely indoors in the winter months.”
If a new measures are to work we all have to act in ways that live up to the public health emergency we are facing together.
Please do not treat the new rules as though they were a game in which the challenge is always to stretch them to the limit.
Please don’t make your first question, what can and what can’t I do, instead we should all be asking ourselves, what should, and what shouldn’t I be doing to keep myself and my family safe.
And the answer to that question is that we should all do everything we can to reduce the contact we have with other people at home, in work, or when we go out.
Government rules and regulations are there to help.
The real strength we have is in the choices we make and the actions we take.
“Working from home will become even more necessary and we will strengthen the rules and the support to help make that happen.”
“Most of all, I want to be clear, again, that when the fire break ends coronavirus virus will still be here with us.”
Mr Drakeford confirmed that those businesses reopening after the fire break will be able to trade on the ”same basis” as they did before the start of the two week lockdown.
“Two of the most challenging issues to think through” he said is around travel and on household mixing.
On travel, “the dilemmas we have to think about is whether it is still sensible when the virus has spread so far in Wales to continue to ask people only to travel within their local authority area.”
“The case for it was strong to begin with because it prevented people taking the virus with them elsewhere.” He said.
“Is that still a proportionate thing to ask people to do when the virus is now in almost every part of Wales? That’s the dilemma, the debate we will conclude this weekend.” He added.
With regards to cross border travel, Mr Drakeford said: “People are still even now able to travel across the border for important purposes like going to work, or attending medical appointments and so on so that will definitely continue beyond the 9th November. ”
“I will want to study over this weekend and into next week the comparative incidence rates between Wales and parts of England which are under tier two and tier three restrictions.”
“The point of asking people in those places not to travel into Wales was because the rate of the virus in circulation in those places was so much more than it is here.”
“I’m afraid there is still a significant gap between those places in Wales, if that remains the same, then we will expect to have a similar regime after the 9th November as we had prior to the 23rd October, because it just doesn’t make sense to add to the difficulties we already face by the virus being imported from elsewhere.” He said.
A ban on people travelling to Wales from UK coronavirus hot spots came into effect Friday 16th October.
“In relation to household gathering” said Mr Drakeford, “we know that the spread of coronavirus mostly comes to human contact and and that the most human contact is taking place inside people’s own homes.
“Can we devise a set of rules that people will abide by that will bear down on the virus but still makes life livable?”
‘“In particular, can we devise a set of rules that reflect the way in which young people in our society, live their lives, we’ve had as you know the system of a different number of households being able to hold extended household and then move in and out of one another’s houses.”
“That is particularly unlikely to match the way in which young people live their lives who want to be debating people rather than other households, and were grappling with those dilemmas.”
“Over this weekend, the cabinet here in the Welsh Government will be finalising (the new) national measures, and I will report again to you on Monday with the full and final details.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com