No ‘significant changes’ expected in Friday’s Welsh Government Covid regulations review
Welsh Government has been reviewing Covid regulations in Wales over the past few days as part of the regular three weekly cycle that has been in place since the start of the pandemic.
According to reports no “significant changes” will be announced during the usual Friday lunchtime press conference which takes place following the three weekly review.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that England was to move to Plan B “following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.”
From Friday 10 December in England face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship.
There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings.
From Monday 13 December in England those who can will be advised to work from home.
Also in England, from Wednesday 15 December, and subject to parliamentary approval, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
Mark Drakeford’s official spokesperson has said: “While there is increasing concern about the omicron variant, we do not anticipate making significant changes to the existing regulations at the moment.”
NEW: First Minister official spokesperson: “While there is increasing concern about the omicron variant, we do not anticipate making significant changes to the existing regulations at the moment.”
— Mike Hughes (@MikeHughes_) December 9, 2021
Commenting ahead of tomorrow’s latest review by the Labour Government, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Russell George MS said:
“Vaccinations are the key to a society living with coronavirus and thanks to the Conservative Government’s procurement programme, we can protect ourselves for years to come.
“In the Senedd, we have long pressed for the rapid roll-out of booster jabs, introducing walk-in centres across Wales, and the redeployment of our volunteer army – but Labour’s lack of urgency surrounding the booster rollout has held us back – and the Welsh Government needs to get back to a war footing in delivering boosters into arms.
“COVID hospitalisations in Wales are at their lowest level since September and as a country, we are now all aware of the damage restrictions can inflict on the economy, other areas of public health, and life chances.
“However, it’s clear the Omicron variant is growing faster than the previous Delta variant, and it’s vital ministers use the days and weeks to come to gather detailed evidence on the impact this will have on public health.
“It remains our belief that restrictions should be targeted, proportionate and only introduced as a last resort to protect lives due to any rapid increase in hospitalisations and deaths.”
Welsh Conservatives have also called for greater consideration of the nation’s mental health in future reviews. Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Mental Health Minister, James Evans MS said:
“Christmas is an important and special time for many families across Wales and the thought of more restrictions will be a worrying prospect.
“We still do not know the impact of the new omicron variant, but we know exactly what impact restrictions have had on everybody’s mental health.
“It is absolutely vital that the mental health and wellbeing of people in Wales is at the forefront of Labour ministers’ minds when they are deliberating over the weeks to come on what changes, if any, are needed to restrictions.
“Labour ministers must make sure support and help is in place for people suffering because the NHS is struggling to deal with the backlog of mental health appointments as it is, and we simply cannot add to the strain.”
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