Discussion between UK nations on lifting lockdowns ‘continuous’, PM says

Adam Hale, PA Wales Correspondent

Boris Johnson has said discussions will continue with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and the other devolved nations over whether the UK will leave lockdown at the same time.

The Prime Minister said it was “encouraging” that coronavirus infection appeared to be falling across the whole of the UK following the mass vaccine rollout.

Mr Johnson was speaking from a mass coronavirus vaccination centre at Cwmbran Stadium in Cwmbran, south Wales, as part of a series of Covid-19-related visits in the country on Wednesday.

Coronavirus graphics
(PA Graphics)

Asked if he wanted the whole of the UK to leave lockdown in sync, he said: “We have continuous conversations with Mark Drakeford, with other representatives of the devolved administrations, about how to do it, just as we work on the vaccination programme together.

“We try and make sure we concert our approach and our general messages.

“I think that, overall, if you look at infection rates across the UK, they are coming down a bit now. That’s very encouraging.

“The big questions people will want to ask is to what extent now is that being driven by vaccination. We hope it is, there are some encouraging signs, but it’s still early days.”

Mr Johnson was also asked if he could take any lessons from First Minister Mark Drakeford’s handling of the pandemic in Wales, which became the first country to announce it had vaccinated its over-70s on Friday and where overall share of the population given first doses is the best in the UK.

Boris Johnson
Prime minister Boris Johnson speaks with health worker Wendy Warren in Cwmbran (Geoff Caddick/PA)

Mr Johnson said: “I think that across the whole of the UK there has been an outstanding vaccination performance.

“It’s great to be here in Cwmbran. I think it’s 46,000 they’ve done in this centre, a really outstanding achievement.

“I think, as the song goes: ‘I’ve been all around the world and then Japan, I’ve never found a place for vaccines like Cwmbran.’ How about that?

“It just seems to be going incredibly well here and there’s a real spirit of pride and people really working hard, and people coming forward to get the vaccine because they know that’s the right thing for themselves, and their families, and also the right thing for the whole community.”