Mark Drakeford expresses ‘hesitation’ over relaxed Christmas restrictions

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he expressed “hesitation” over agreeing to relaxed coronavirus restrictions at Christmas.

At a Cobra meeting on Tuesday it was agreed that between December 23 to 27 up to three households will be allowed to form a “Christmas bubble”, while travel restrictions will be lifted across the whole of the UK.

Following the meeting, Mr Drakeford told the PA news agency that he had concerns about the effect cross-country travel and household mixing would have on transmissions in Wales but that it was “better” to have a common arrangement with the rest of the UK.

He told PA: “We have to recognise that Christmas is a very important time for people and that you have to have a set of rules that people will be prepared to operate within.

“And the behavioural advice we have from our scientists is that unless we are able to devise a set of common arrangements then people might just make their own rules and that could be even more difficult.

“So while I have hesitation, because of the state of the virus in Wales and across the United Kingdom, it is better that we have a common set of arrangements that give people a framework that they can manage within and act responsibly within as well.”

Mr Drakeford said the public should “think carefully” and “plan ahead” in order to avoid unnecessary contact with others during the relaxed period.

He said: “People should still act responsibly, still think carefully, only travel if you need to, only meet other people where you need to as well, and minimise the risk that this period is bound to add to the circulating virus across the United Kingdom.”