Posted: Fri 17th Jul 2020

Lockdown Easing: First Minister will confirm today playgrounds, community centres and outdoor gyms can open from Monday

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 17th, 2020

First Minister Mark Drakeford will confirm this afternoon that playgrounds, community centres and outdoor gyms will be able to re-open from Monday.

The re-opening community centres will help local authorities provide summer holiday play schemes and childcare, the Welsh Government has said.

The First Minister said this morning. “We’ll be confirming today that play areas community centres, outdoor gyms will or be able to resume, we’ve got the headroom to move ahead, and we’ll confirm those three things for Monday.

Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “The chance of coming into contact with anybody who has coronavirus in Wales is at lowest it has been at any point in the pandemic.“

“We continue to move in our careful step by step way, coronavirus has not gone away.

The figures are good in a sense but the circulation of the virus in the community is at a low ebb.

The more serious impacts in terms of hospitalisation and deaths at a low ebb.

But as we have seen in Melbourne Australia, where a month ago they had faced with not a single case and four weeks later 5 million people are back in lockdown.

This is a virus that can go from being very promising very difficult in a matter of a very few weeks.“

Figures published on Tuesday suggest the testing regime for Covid-19 in Wales has stalled, with no increase in capacity since last week, a drop to below 20 per cent of capacity being used.

The slow pace of returning test results has also flatlined, with just 46.5 per cent of test results authorised in NHS Wales laboratories returned within 24 hours, and 66.1 per cent within 48 hours. Nearly 20 per cent were not returned within 72 hours.

Asked “how wise” it has been to proceed with the releasing the lockdown when the performance on testing is “falling away.”

Mr Drakeford said: “Well, it’s important for people to for me to explain to people that one of the reasons for the phenomenon you’re describing is that we are doing far more tests, and we’re actually turning more tests around in 24 hours then we were earlier in the process.

We did 21,000 tests over the weekend and part of the reason that the number of tests this week was fewer than last week is the first less coronavirus in Wales week by week so there are fewer people with symptoms and fewer people coming forward to be tested.”

When they do come forward to be tested we’re able to contact them and treat their contacts very effectively that’s what the Test Track and Protect system is really there for is to make sure that we can get on top of any local outbreaks very quickly, because coronavirus is at a low ebb, we are doing that and doing it effectively.

We need to have the test back more quickly because as we go into the autumn where they will be a greater need for tests, flu will be in circulation people will want to check whether it’s that or whether it’s coronavirus, then we will need the system to be running more efficiently than it is now.

And we’re working very hard to make that happen.”

The First Minister’s press conference will take place at 12.30 today and can be viewed live via their Twitter feed: @WelshGovernment

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