Wales is set to come out of its 17-day lockdown tomorrow as the country’s First Minister has claimed that infection rates are ‘plateauing’.
Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford announced there was a ‘path through to Christmas‘ without needing another severe firebreak lockdown.
The country’s stringent ‘firebreak’ ends tomorrow and will see non-essential shops, gyms, schools and places of worship reopen.
But the country’s health minister, Vaughan Gething, has urged people to use these services wisely in order to avoid ‘throwing away’ the progress made in lockdown and having to go into another one.
The country’s stringent ‘firebreak’ ends tomorrow and will see shops, gyms, schools and places of worship reopen. Pictured: a deserted shopping centre in Newport
The number of coronavirus cases in Wales has started to plateau over the last four days
Mr Drakeford told Sky News: ‘If we avoid contact with other people and we travel only when we need to, work from home wherever we can, we will build on what has been achieved here over the last 17 days.’
Mr Gething announced that Covid-19 case rates are ‘levelling off’ and that mass testing will be considered in high infection areas such as Merthyr and the valleys.
And he added that the full benefits of the firebreak lockdown wouldn’t be known for at least two weeks.
Wales will follow a ‘basic set of national restrictions’ when the country emerges from its 17-day lockdown, First Minister Mark Drakeford has revealed
Wales’s firebreak was initiated because the number Covid patients in the country’s hospitals is at its highest since the peak of the pandemic in April.
The lifting of restrictions will come four days into England’s fresh nationwide lockdown and further underscore the different strategies being adopted across the Union.
Mr Gething warned that treatments for cancer, heart and stroke issues could be affected if coronavirus infections go up again.
But he told the BBC: ‘We think we’re starting to see a plateauing, a levelling off, in the rates of coronavirus across the country.
Wales firebreak was plunged into chaos when supermarkets cordoned off non-essential items
A woman sits on a bench in the town centre wearing a face mask in a quiet street in Newport this weekend
‘It’s still at a high rate which means that there’s still a reservoir of coronavirus within our communities.’
Welsh Conservatives are pushing for local lockdowns in high infection areas in the hopes of avoiding another ‘draconian’ firebreak lockdown.
However Mr Gething said: ‘If we breach trust with the public and extend the end of the firebreak, having been clear it would come to an end, I don’t think people would be prepared to trust the government again and go along with what we want people to do.’
Wales has seen 5,224 coronavirus cases in the last week and 2,033 people in the country have died from the disease.
Figures from Public Health Wales show that coronavirus numbers have been starting to plateau for the last four days.
Mr Drakeford is hoping that the UK Government will stick to its plans of having all four nations meet to discuss a single approach to the Christmas period.