First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has said that there is ‘good evidence the Welsh firebreak has had its intended impact on the transmission of Covid-19’ but has warned that everyone needs to ‘play their part’ to ensure a ‘path through to Christmas.’
Speaking on Friday, just over 10 days since the fire-break period ended in Wales, Mr Drakeford said the chief medical officer had said that evidence showed the Welsh firebreak had achieved its intended impact, but the First Minister said the lasting impact of this would depend on the actions of everyone.
The First Minister described how a minority are not following the rules, saying he receives ‘letters and emails every day from people all over Wales worried about how others are socialising in large numbers or gathering in homes’. He added that police have responded to more than 1,000 COVID-19 related incidents in Wales since the end of the fire-break period, saying “the behaviour of a selfish minority is putting everyone else at risk”.
Mr Drakeford stressed that it is “not inevitable” that Wales will face a rise in Coronavirus cases in the run-up to Christmas but warned that it could not be ruled out.
Following a review of the latest Coronavirus restrictions in Wales, Mr Drakeford said the Welsh Cabinet had decided not to change them. The restrictions that are currently in place will remain in place for at least the next two weeks.
The ‘R’ number in Wales has fallen recently and the seven-day case incidence rate for Wales has fallen to around 160 cases per 100,000 people – however, this ranges in different parts of the country.
In the lowest areas of Wales, the weekly incidence rate is around 20 cases per 100,000 people. In Blaenau Gwent, there are more than 350 cases per 100,000 people. In Merthyr Tydfil, where the case rate has fallen to around 250 cases per 100,000 people, a mass testing programme (the first in the country) is to launch this weekend.