Mark Drakeford: Wales will ditch local lockdowns for ‘simpler’ national measures

Wales will adopt a “simpler” set of national coronavirus restrictions following the country’s firebreak lockdown, the First Minister has said.

Mark Drakeford admitted the series of local lockdowns he previously imposed across the country during the autumn “didn’t work well enough” to curb the spread of the virus.

The new rules would also be “easier for everybody to understand” after confusion over the Welsh Government’s ban on the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets, he said.

Cordoned off supermarket aisles
Cordoned off supermarket aisles

Mr Drakeford said the national measures, which will come into force when the firebreak ends after November 9, would balance “maximum protection” from Covid-19 with “as much freedom” as possible.

He told the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 briefing in Cardiff: “We will put in place a simpler set of national rules that are easier for everybody to understand, to help keep us safe and keep the virus under control.

“We’ve been working hard to create this new set of measures that we can all live with this winter.

“If the new measures are to work, we all have to act in ways that live up to the public health emergency we are facing together.

“Please do not treat the new rules as though they were a game in which the challenge is always to stretch them to the limit.”

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK

He added that ministers are finalising the national set of measures and he will provide the “full details” on Monday.

Mr Drakeford’s announcement came after UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that England was “striving” to avoid issuing blanket restrictions nationwide. Speaking on Thursday, Mr Raab insisted that more targeted measures could slow the growth in cases.

Asked why Wales would not return to the local lockdown system, Mr Drakeford said: “It’s not that they didn’t work. It’s that they didn’t work well enough to withstand the onslaught that we have seen from the virus over the last six weeks.

“They undoubtedly have helped, and all the efforts that people have made in those areas have kept the virus at a lower level in Wales than would otherwise have been the case.”