North Wales minister explains challenge of protecting region from coronavirus as thousands flow to and from England for work
The Minister for North Wales has explained the challenges associated with protecting the region from the coronavirus.
Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport, said the large flow of people travelling to and from England for work each day presented difficulties for the Welsh Government.
The minister said that’s why he was keen to see measures designed to halt the spread of COVID-19 replicated as closely as possible over the border.
However, although the area has seen the highest number of overall deaths from the virus of anywhere in Wales, he noted the number of deaths per 100,000 people was actually lower than the Welsh average.
His comments came in response to a question by our sister website North.Wales about how different measures in England and a subsequently higher rate of deaths there could have significant health implications for people in the region.
Mr Skates said: “It’s very difficult to protect an area from what happens in adjoining space where there is such intense cross-border flow.
“Every single day we see tens of thousands of people go from Wales to England into work.
“We see tens of thousands of people travel from England into Wales for work as well.
“Those inter-dependencies are obvious and have a knock on impact in terms of public health.
“That’s why we’re so keen to see measures taken across the border that are as close to ours as possible to drive down infection rates, where people from Wales work and from where people in England come to Wales to work as well.”
Mr Skates said he was regularly in contact with the metro mayors for both Greater Manchester and Liverpool, as well as local authorities situated just across the border.
Both Andy Burnham and Stephen Rotherham have called for the same approach to be taken in their areas as the Welsh Government is adopting.
He added: “You’re right to point out the ONS death rate per 100,000 as a cause for concern.
“In Betsi Cadwaladr, I believe at the moment it’s 62.5, which is below the Welsh average of 73.5, and quite considerably below the UK average as well or the English average.
“It’s absolutely vital that for the next few weeks, we do have as minimal travel as possible, just so that we can drive down infection rates on both sides of the border.
“This is something that Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham and other leaders in the north west have been impressing upon the people of their region.”
Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com