Second Covid fire-break lockdown ‘likely in January or February’ across Wales, says minister

1 month ago 6

A SECOND coronavirus fire-break lockdown could be imposed in January or February across Wales, a Government minister has said.

The country was put under a national lockdown from 6pm on Friday, October 23, following a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.

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A quiet street in Cardiff as Wales entered a two-week fire-break lockdown from Friday

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A quiet street in Cardiff as Wales entered a two-week fire-break lockdown from FridayCredit: PA:Press Association

Lee Waters said another lockdown is likely in Wales in January or February

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Lee Waters said another lockdown is likely in Wales in January or February

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the 17-day "fire-break" lockdown on October 19.

But Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said similar lockdown restrictions may continue to be introduced until a coronavirus vaccine is found, Wales Online reports.

Mr Waters said the Welsh Government was trying to "flatten the curve" of the second wave of Covid-19 but could not stop the virus from spreading entirely.

Speaking on BBC Wales' Sunday Supplement, he said: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see.

'FLATTEN THE CURVE'

"I think the projections in the papers we've published on our worst-case scenarios show it's likely we're going to need to have another fire-break in January or February.

"It's important that we can show that we are being rational, we are being evidence-based and we are being transparent. We are trying our best to do that."

He acknowledged that people were "thoroughly fed-up" of restrictions, with frustration and anger directed towards the government making the decision.

"That is inevitable and I'm afraid it's going to get worse," Mr Waters added.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford announced the lockdown on October 19

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First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford announced the lockdown on October 19Credit: Getty Images - Getty

When the fire-break lockdown was introduced, Paul Davies, Tory leader in Wales, warned: "This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic - it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year.

"The Welsh government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people's lives and livelihoods."

Under the rules, people can only leave their home for limited reasons, such as to buy food and medicine, provide care or take exercise, and must work from home where possible.

Leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses are closed, along with community centres, libraries and recycling centres, while places of worship are shut other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Wales is 42,681

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The total number of coronavirus cases in Wales is 42,681

Wales recorded 1,777 coronavirus-related fatalities

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Wales recorded 1,777 coronavirus-related fatalities

The Welsh government has been criticised after imposing a ban on sales of non-essential items at supermarkets.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the restriction, which has seen aisles cordoned off and plastic sheeting placed over products, had been applied differently in stores across Wales.

He said Welsh Government will review the "understanding, clarity and policy" of the ban.

More than 50,000 people have signed a petition submitted to the Welsh Parliament calling for the ban to be immediately reversed.

Shelves of books covered with plastic in a Tesco store in Penarth, Wales

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Shelves of books covered with plastic in a Tesco store in Penarth, WalesCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Home products covered as a ban on selling non-essential items was introduced

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Home products covered as a ban on selling non-essential items was introducedCredit: Getty Images - Getty

On Saturday evening, First Minister Drakeford tweeted that ministers would be "reviewing how the weekend has gone" with supermarkets and "making sure that common sense is applied".

Mr Gething told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "We're reviewing with supermarkets the understanding and the clarity and the policy because there's been different application in different parts.

"We all need to step back and remember why the firebreak has been introduced, to recognise that it is hard on lots of people, but we're in a week where we've already seen 61 deaths take place here in Wales.

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"Just about a month ago there were only six deaths in a week so coronavirus is taking off. We are seeing more people lose their loves."

There have been a further 1,104 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 42,681.

Public Health Wales said five further deaths had been reported, with the total rising to 1,777.

The lockdown in Wales began on October 23

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The lockdown in Wales began on October 23Credit: PA:Press Association

The latest coronavirus cases and deaths in the UK

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The latest coronavirus cases and deaths in the UK

'Non-essential' items banned from Welsh shops as country enters COVID lockdown

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