Thursday, 11 August, 2022
HomeWorldWales announces two-week lockdown to contain Covid spread

Wales announces two-week lockdown to contain Covid spread

First Minister Mark Drakeford said everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home between Oct 23 and Nov 9, and all pubs, restaurants & non-essential retail outlets will be closed.

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Cardiff: The government of Wales announced a two-week lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted he doesn’t want similar measures across the border in England.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home between Oct. 23 and Nov. 9, and all pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail outlets will be closed.

Primary schools will reopen after the half-term break and secondary schools will open again only for children in years seven and eight, Drakeford said in a televised statement on Monday.

Northern Ireland has already ordered schools to close for the next two weeks, with most businesses facing tough restrictions for a month.

But James Slack, the prime minister’s official spokesman, said Johnson prefers a “balanced regional approach” for England.

“We keep all our measures under review, but the prime minister has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to see a return to something like a national lockdown,” he told reporters.

The action in Wales is an illustration of the way the political unity that marked the first phase of the pandemic in March and April has disintegrated. Arguments over cash and strategy are deepening divisions between regional leaders and ministers in London.

Manchester row

Johnson is still locked in a row with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, in northwest England, over the government’s plan to impose tighter rules on the region. A spokesman for Burnham said further meetings are planned later on Monday.

“The contours of an agreement are there, but every side needs to now come together and reach an amicable conclusion,” Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News on Monday. “Obviously, we will put in place the resources that they need.”

Slack said projections by government scientists show that without action, surge intensive care capacity in Greater Manchester hospitals would be overwhelmed by Nov. 12.

He said the government wants to “engage constructively” with local leaders but added: “If the prime minister feels he needs to intervene and act and put those measures into place then he is prepared to do so.”

In Wales, people will be banned from gathering indoors and outdoors with those from other households as part of the “fire-break” lockdown. Drakeford said it will be “a short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and buy us more time.”

“We are aware of the demands we are making of our fellow citizens here in Wales,” Drakeford said. “A fire-break period is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a much longer and more damaging lockdown.” – Bloomberg

Also read: UK’s Covid virus deadlock is indicative of a bigger challenge several countries will face


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