Welsh government preparing for circuit-breaker lockdown

Wales' first minister Mark Drakeford and Labour leader Keir Starmer

Wales' first minister Mark Drakeford and Labour leader Keir Starmer - Credit: PA

The Welsh government is “very actively talking about and preparing for” a circuit-breaker lockdown in Wales, first minister Mark Drakeford has said.

Speaking to Sky News, Drakeford said “detailed planning” is under way to establish what measures would be put in place during a circuit-breaker, how long it would last, how schools would be treated, and how to come out of it.

The measures are being considered despite coronavirus having been more “effectively suppressed” in Wales than in some other parts of the UK, he claimed.

He said: “We want to act now in order to prevent the worst from happening, to give us a better chance of getting through the rest of the autumn and the winter, and if a circuit-breaker is the right way to do it then that is what we will do.

“We’re very actively talking about and preparing for that, should it be necessary.”

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Drakeford said “detailed work” is ongoing to allow Wales to take the same decision as Northern Ireland, where a period of intensified coronavirus restrictions has been announced, if infection figures continue to go “in the wrong direction” this week.

“I’m not announcing it today but I do want people to know we are planning very seriously, so if we do need to do it we’ll be in a position to do it and in a position to do it quickly,” he said.

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The first minister said his Government will look at the coronavirus figures in Wales during the rest of this week to decide whether the circuit-breaker is necessary.

Drakeford also said comments by UK government minister Therese Coffey about a circuit-breaker not being the right move “fly in the face of the advice of Sage”, and he repeated his call for a four-nation Cobra meeting to discuss the experts’ scientific evidence.

“I don’t think it is sensible for the UK government to dismiss that idea, they ought to sit down with everybody, look at it seriously, and then make a proper decision,” he said.

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