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Mark Drakeford repeats calls to Boris Johnson for 'proper engagement' with all four UK nations

Mark Drakeford repeats calls to Boris Johnson for 'proper engagement' with all four UK nations

The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has repeated his calls to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for 'proper engagement' with the First Ministers of all UK nations.

Mr Drakeford said on Friday that it had been a 'sobering' week as Coronavirus cases rose in Wales, adding that the Coronavirus situation throughout Wales remains 'complex'.

The First Minister spoke of multiple problems in the last week, notably with testing and the UK's Lighthouse Labs system. In recent days, there have been reports of people with Coronavirus symptoms being told to travel hundreds of miles in order to get tested for the virus, while some areas have experienced shortages of tests and backlogs of tests to be processed.

Speaking during the Welsh Government Press Conference on Friday, Mr Drakeford said "All of these issues need to be discussed at a UK level by the four governments working together." 

He said that no meeting had been offered to First Ministers 'of any sort' with the UK Government in the last week and spoke of very limited communication with the Prime Minister throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.

Urging the Prime Minister to chair a meeting of First Ministers of all UK nations and then hold a regular series of meetings, Mr Drakeford said the lack of engagement from the UK Government was 'simply unacceptable' to anyone who thinks all four nations should be facing the Coronavirus crisis together. He said that he felt the best decisions were made by each nation through talking to each other.

 

Mr Drakeford said on Friday that the Coronavirus situation in Wales in not a 'one-way street' and that things can get better, as well as worse. Thursday saw the announcement of three new recorded deaths in Wales related to COVID-19, the first recorded deaths linked to the virus in the country since August. 

During the last two weeks, localised restrictions have been implemented in the Caerphilly County Borough Council area and the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area due to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.

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