Coronavirus: Wales to set out ‘first cautious steps’ to relax COVID-19 lockdown

Wales is to begin taking its “first cautious steps” in relaxing its coronavirus lockdown, the first minister has told Sky News.

Mark Drakeford will formally set out his plans in a news conference this afternoon.

More than 1,100 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in Wales.

But speaking ahead of his address to the nation, he said schools will not be reopening at the start of next month, as could be the case in England, although some pupils could go back before the end of the summer term.

Mr Drakeford said he does not see pubs opening “any time soon” – and stressed the government’s advice continues to be for people to stay at home.

Scotland and Northern Ireland are also sticking to this mantra, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken a different approach.

As lockdown measures begin to be relaxed more widely in England, the PM is urging people to “stay alert”, with those who cannot work from home now encouraged to go back to work.

The first minister said Wales will adopt a traffic light system for easing the restrictions.

In the “red zone”, there will be “some small additional things that people will be able to do”, he told Sky News.

“It will not look very different, the lockdown, but it will be the first cautious steps,” Mr Drakeford continued.

“We’ll track those really carefully, to make sure they’re not resulting in coronavirus beginning to spread again in Wales.

“If we succeed in that we’ll move into the amber zone. In the amber zone, there will be quite a bit more that people will be able to do.

“Again, we’ll track that very carefully and monitor it for a time.

“If that is successful, we’ll be in the green zone and life will begin to look a lot like it did before the coronavirus started, but not completely.”

The first minister said he only had a “very small amount of headroom to begin the process of unlocking our economy and our society” at this stage.

He told Sky News the R rate, how many people on average an infected person goes on to infect, in Wales is around 0.8.

And he warned: “Even with the R rate at 0.8, we think 800 people could die in Wales over the next three months because of coronavirus.

“If that figure were to creep up just a tiny number of decimal points, to 1.1, that 800 figure would rise to 7,200.

“We’ve got tiny margins to play with.

“But those tiny margins are genuinely the difference between life and death for thousands of Welsh citizens.”

Source: Read Full Article