The Welsh Government has explained why it may still impose reactions on where people can travel in Wales once the “stay home” orders are lifted.
On Friday Mark Drakeford will make an announcement where he is expected to announce that people in Wales are no longer required to stay home.
In a radio interview over the weekend the First Minister said that the current stay at home regulations could be eased and ‘stay local’ guidance introduced.
Continuing to impose such strong restrictions would seem to contradict the Welsh Government’s own tiering system announced in January which seems to suggest, based on data, that Wales should be subject to less severe restrictions.
WalesOnline put this education minister Kirsty Williams at the Welsh Government coronavirus briefing on Monday and asked: “The hospital admissions data shows that admissions are nearly as low now as they ever reached last summer. Cases per 100,000 are now below 50 which according to the Welsh Government’s own tiering would put Wales at alert level one – the very lowest there is.
“Given all of this, why are you proposing to continue with such severe restrictions on people’s liberties after Friday by telling them to stay local?”
The charts below how hospital admissions have fallen drastically – with intensive care bed occupancy following
In response Ms Williams said that there was a risk that not imposing a stay local could lead to the spread of the virus among unvaccinated people.
She said: “Can I say you are absolutely right there is data that we can be massively encourage by. But those figures have been hard one by the Welsh public. We need to follow the advice that in unlocking restrictions we do not undo the tremendous hard work.
“We want to ensure that when we unlock we do that on a permanent basis and not find ourselves in a situation where we will see cases rise quickly again and potentially hospital admissions rise again.
“The advice to the Welsh government is clear. Any unlocking must be done carefully and it must be done cautiously to allow us to monitor the impact of community spread.
“Even with the vaccination programme I’m sure you’ll understand the science that if we let the virus spread rapidly within the community even if that leads to less pressure on our NHS that potentially leads to the situation where we see the development of new variants.
“We are at a critical juncture in the management of this pandemic where there is much to be hopeful and optimistic about but could be so easily thrown away by an incautious approach to unlocking where we still have great progress in the vaccination programme and I think we are going to meet a very significant milestone today in Wales there are significant proportions of art population who haven’t been vaccinated and that provides the perfect opportunity for the emergence of new variants.”
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The education minister suggested that part of the reason for potentially stopping people travelling was because some communities were concerned about the virus being seeded in their local area.
“I think we have to recognise that even with in Wales we still see quite significant differences in the amount of community spread,” she said.
“If you look at Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire which have very low levels compared to parts of North Wales there is still some considerable difference in those figures.
“Especially in those Communities where there is a great deal of concern.
“We haven’t had visitors in the Beacons for very many many months.
“Suddenly having an influx of people into some of these areas could cause some concerns in those communities who have been fortunate enough to bring those levels low.
When repeatedly pushed on whether the old tiering systems were now redundant because the Welsh Government do not seem to be following them Ms Williams said: “The hearing system is not redundant. It is a mechanism by which we can look at different tranches of levels of restrictions.”