Posted: Tue 24th Nov 2020

New Covid restrictions could be introduced in Wales ahead of Christmas

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Nov 24th, 2020

Tighter Covid measures could be introduced in Wales ahead of Christmas to bring the country more in line England and Scotland.

Boris Johnson unveiled his winter Covid plans on Monday which will see England move out of the lockdown period on December 2 and into a beefed up three tiered system.

Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething said yesterday that he was hoping for a “common approach” across the four UK nations over the festive period.

Speaking during Monday’s Welsh government press briefing Mr Gething said: “We are discussing the potential for a limited period of time to have some relaxation in the current measures in place.”

He said: “We are talking about what household mixing might look like.”

The health minister also said they were discussing “common arrangements for travel across the UK” during the festive period.

Over the weekend the UK government claimed Ministers from the four nations have “endorsed a shared objective” of facilitating some “limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days.”

There were suggestions that three households could be allowed to meet over Christmas, Mr Gething said that was just “kite flying, we haven’t agreed any numbers around that.”

He said: “I think, just as important if not more so, is that we’re considering in Wales whether we can have a more common approach to measures in advance of Christmas.”

“We’re starting to see in some parts of Wales a rise in coronavirus case again in under 25’s – so we need to get to the festive season.”

Mr Gething said they will look at the measures that Scotland and England have introduced, “where they have a tiered system that largely complements each other.”

“We’ll be thinking over the next week about whether we do need to have common approaches, as far as possible in terms of how we ask people to go about living their lives.”

“That may mean that there’ll be some changes, we’ll think about that as England come to the end of their four week lockdown.

Mr Gething said any changes would be aimed at giving “us all the headroom” needed to have the sort of Christmas “we want to have together, but to do so in a way that keeps as many of us as safe as possible.”

It’s was later reported that Welsh Government ministers are considering a single system, rather than the tiered approach used in England and Scotland.

The UK government published its COVID Winter Plan on Monday setting out what will happen following the four week national lockdown in England on December 2.

Across England, the ‘stay at home’ order will end and shops, gyms, personal care, and the leisure sector will reopen.

Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, and people will not be limited to seeing one other person in outdoor public spaces. Instead, the rule of 6 will again apply.

However, the virus is still present and the Prime Minster, and the UK governments Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor have agree that without targeted measures in areas where it is most prevalent, it could again run out of control. “That would jeopardise progress made, and risk intolerable pressure on the NHS.” Boris Johnson said.

England will therefore move back into a regional, tiered approach – “safeguarding the gains made, and using scientific advances in vaccination, treatments and testing to enable life gradually to return closer to normal by Spring.” The Prime Minister said.

Some restrictions will be amended, the hospitality curfew has been modified to last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm, allowing customers to depart in a “staggered way.”

In tiers 1 and 2, spectator sport can also resume outside with capacity limits and social distancing, providing consistency with theatres and concert halls.

But SAGE are clear that, while previous tiers reduced the R rate, they were not enough to bring it below 1.

All tiers will be toughened, in tier 1 people will be encouraged to minimise travel and work from home where possible.

In tier 2, alcohol may only be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal. In tier 3, hospitality will close except for delivery and takeaway, and indoor entertainment venues, such as cinemas, casinos and bowling alleys, must also close.

The UK government said: “Ministers continue to work with the Devolved Administrations on plans for temporary relaxation over Christmas and will set out details shortly, including for the clinically extremely vulnerable.”




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