Things will “get worse not better” if we don’t take action now warns First Minister
Wales’ first minister has warned of a difficult few months ahead and that unless action is taken now, things will “get worse not better”.
Speaking at today’s Welsh Government briefing Mark Drakeford stated that the “virus is waking up for winter”, with cases increasing sharply across large parts of Wales.
Already millions of people of north and south Wales are living under tighter restrictions – also known as local lockdowns – in a bid to try and reduce the number of cases.
Graphs released during today’s briefing show a sharp rise in cases in the Wrexham area, with the first minister noting that it is too soon to see any benefit of the measures imposed in north Wales. Public Health Wales day on day data says cases in Wrexham have increased +34, with a positive proportion of tests 12.7%. Rolling seven day data up to the 6th has us at 155.9 cases per 100k, the highest in North Wales.
Commenting on the rise in cases, Mr Drakeford said: “During the summer we saw Coronavirus cases falling steadily and we were able to relax and lift many other lockdown restrictions.
“It felt as though the worst was behind us, even though we knew that the virus had not gone away.
“Now, in many parts of the United Kingdom things are getting worse again and getting worse quickly. In Scotland, strict new measures have been introduced, pubs and other hospitality businesses have been closed completely in the central belt.
“We are told that on Monday, the UK Government will tighten restrictions in parts of England, where the level of the virus is higher than anywhere in Wales.
“Further afield in Europe lockdown measures are again being introduced because the virus is once again out of control.
“Here in Wales too, the virus is waking up for winter. The approach we are taking is to balance the need to act together to turn back the tide of coronavirus, but only to restrict freedoms where we know that that has to be done.
“This is a difficult balancing act where we can, we will do our very best to change the rules to make life easier, while always putting the protection of health at the forefront of everything we do.”
However the first minister acknowledged that there was an element of lockdown fatigue with people once again being asked to give up more of their freedoms and daily lives.
Although compliance remains high in Wales for following the regulations, it was noted that people are frustrated and that some “dropped their guard” over the summer months when cases were low.
He added: “I understand of course, that it is against this difficult background, that people are worried and anxious about what the next few months might hold.
“We’re all of us worried about the virus, and about the impact of further measures on our health, our families and on our livelihoods.
“It’s entirely understandable that people can feel frustrated about having to live with ongoing restrictions in their lives.
“So many of us live in one part of Wales but have family members and others who are important to to us in other parts of our country, and we’re separated from them.
“It’s really difficult and frustrating to find ourselves back in the position we faced earlier in the year.
“But we do know too and I know that you know too, that unless we take actions now, the position will get worse, not better.
“Over this winter, we will all be asked to make further sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable , to prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed, and to keep as many businesses open and livelihoods operating safely as safely as we can.”
He also commented on those who believe coronavirus is a “hoax”, stating that those views are on the “fringes” of society in Wales.
Mr Drakeford said: “There are still groups who try to promote the idea to others, that the virus is somehow not real. Or it’s just made up, that it’s a hoax, that it’s things that governments and others trying to pull the wool over your eyes about it.
“But that is right at the very fringe of things in Wales, and of course, absolutely untrue.
“The virus is completely real and completely still wreaking its havoc in the lives of families in different parts of Wales.”
He added: “The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus in Wales has been rising over the last seven days.
“More people are testing positive every day. There are more reports this week of Coronavirus in care homes in Wales.
“And sadly, more people are dying from this deadly disease – and our thoughts as ever are with those people’s friends, and their families.”
You can view the full briefing , and Q&A on the below video:
Yn fyw nawr gyda Prif Weinidog Cymru | Live now with the First Minister https://t.co/G9BI3nHqDl
— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) October 9, 2020
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