Posted: Sat 9th May 2020

Small increase in coronavirus infection rate could lead to thousands more dying, warns First Minister

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, May 9th, 2020

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The First Minister has warned Wales faces hundreds of coronavirus deaths in the coming months, however he said if stay at home regulations were loosened that figure could increase to several thousand.

Mark Drakeford highlighted the ‘R’ number which illustrates the rate of transmission as the reason for mostly sticking with the current restrictions – although he announced some small changes.

He opened the briefing by discussing evidence which shows the harm caused by COVID-19 is “stabilising” thanks to the actions of the public in observing social distancing.

But he said expert advice showed it was too soon to lift the restrictions as it could lead to the return of the virus.

He said: “The coronavirus continues to be present in Wales, even with everything we have done to bring the rate down to 0.8 in the community.

“We anticipate 800 more people will join that very sad and sombre list of people who have lost their lives to coronavirus over the next three months.

“But, if we were to take actions that allow the virus to spiral back to where it was weeks ago, if it crept back up simply to 1.1, then we would not see 800 deaths in Wales, we would see 7,200.

“It is because of that picture, that here in Wales, your government has decided that the stay at home regulations must remain in place until the next review date in three weeks time.”

Mr Drakeford said it was important not to lose the progress made to date and encouraged people to continue working from home where possible.

He added that travel should only be carried out when “absolutely necessary” and urged everyone to keep taking basic hygiene precautions and stay two metres apart.

Later the First Minister was asked by WalesOnline if the R number in care homes was higher.

He said: “The R level is measured in three different locations. It’s measured in hospitals where it is lower than in the community and it’s measured in care homes where…we think it’s above where it is in the community.

“We will watch the level in the community like a hawk. So if it is heading again to the sort of 1.1 levels then we will re-impose some of the restrictions that we already see.”

You can view the full stream of yesterday’s briefing – along with the Q&A session after on the below video link:

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