Welsh Government looking 'very carefully' at introducing circuit breaker lockdown, says First Minister

  • london
  • October 16, 2020
  • Comments Off on Welsh Government looking 'very carefully' at introducing circuit breaker lockdown, says First Minister

The latest headlines in your inbox twice a day Monday – Friday plus breaking news updates

The Welsh Government is looking “very carefully” at introducing a circuit breaker lockdown that would “turn back the clock” on the spread of Covid-19 in Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Government is considering a time-limited “firebreak” that has been recommended by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) group and the governemnt’s own advisers in Wales.

“This would be a short, sharp shock to the virus which could turn back the clock, slowing down its spread and buying us more time and vital capacity in the health service,” said Mr Drakeford.

“A firebreak would also, however, be a short, sharp shock to all our lives. We will all have to stay at home once again, to save those lives.

“But this time, it will be for weeks and not months. We are considering a two or three-week firebreak. The shorter the period, the sharper the measures will have to be.”

Mr Drakeford said the Welsh Government will be meeting over the weekend to discuss the circuit breaker lockdown and announce any decisions will be announced on Monday.

He said such a lockdown would be a “new set of national rules for the whole of Wales”.

Before and during Coronavirus lockdown – In pictures

“These are incredibly difficult decisions and we have not yet come to a final conclusion about whether a firebreak is the best way to act,” Mr Drakeford said.

He stressed that the time-limited lockdown will not act as a “magic wand” that will make Covid-19 disappear, but that the restrictions could give the country the “breathing space” it needs to get through to Christmas.

“What it does is to buy us time to be able to manage the difficulties we face over a longer period, and in a better planned way,” said Mr Drakeford.

“Our ambition is that if we do, and it’s still an if, if we do decide on a circuit-breaker, that will be sufficient to take us through to Christmas.”

People from coronavirus hotspots in the UK could soon be banned from entering Wales (PA)

The First Minister also confirmed that a travel ban preventing people from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus from entering Wales will come into force later on Friday.

Under regulations being prepared, people living in areas with high levels of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be able to travel to Wales.

However the Police Federation of England and Wales has warned that there could be difficulties identifying where people were travelling to and from and the force is already “overstretched”.

In Wales, an estimated 7,900 people in private households had Covid-19 between October 2 and 8 – the equivalent of 0.26 per cent of the population.

This is up from an estimated 6,100 people for the period September 25 to October 1, or 0.20 per cent of the population.

The ONS said that because of a relatively small number of tests and a low number of positives in the sample, results should be interpreted with caution.

Additonal reporting by PA Media.