No time frame for lockdown exit plan in Wales, says First Minister

Wales’s lockdown exit plan will not be given a time frame, the First Minister has said.

On Friday, Mark Drakeford will publish the country’s “traffic light road map”, the sequence of eased restrictions towards ending the coronavirus lockdown.

The three stages – red, amber and green – would each see a “cautious” lifting of measures which would apply to schools, businesses and general freedoms.

But unlike in England, the Welsh Government has decided not to give any dates for when the country could expect to see any changes.

Coronavirus cases in Wales
(PA Graphics)

Mr Drakeford told Sky News: “We debated hard whether it was sensible to provide dates and time zones.

“In the end, like the Northern Ireland government, we decided not to do that.

“Because, in a way, once you provide a date, people get fixated with a date rather than with a process you have to go through to make sure that it is safe to take those measures.

“So it’s a sequence, it’s a phased approach that will give people in Wales, I think, a strong sense of what to expect.”

Mr Drakeford said the first zone, red, would be “not very different to lockdown but it will be the first cautious step”.

“We’ll track those really carefully to make sure that they are not resulting in coronavirus being spread again in Wales,” he said.

“If we succeed in that, we will be in the amber zone.

“In the amber zone, there will be quite a bit more that people will be able to do and again, we’ll track that really carefully, monitoring over time.

“And if that is successful, we’ll be in the green zone, and in the green zone life will begin to look quite a lot like the days before coronavirus started, but not completely because until we have a vaccine, coronavirus is with us for quite a long way to come.”

In Wales, the R number – the reproduction value of Covid-19 – is estimated at 0.8, which Mr Drakeford said gave the country “tiny margins to play with”.

He said: “But those tiny margins genuinely are the difference between life and death of thousands of Welsh citizens.

“That’s why the Welsh Government with all our partners here in Wales are determined to move cautiously, carefully, monitoring every step we take and not to take any risks.”

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS