Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price MS has today said that the process of unlocking Wales following the fire break must be “slow and steady” and warned that “coming out too early risks undoing any benefits gained”.
Wales entered a 17-day lockdown on 26 October, a measure supported by Plaid Cymru. The First Minister Mark Drakeford reiterated on Saturday (31 October) that “the Welsh firebreak will end on Monday, November 9”.
The Plaid leader has also said that the Welsh Government must set out how it has used the period to make the test and trace system “far more robust, free from its reliance on the failing UK lighthouse lab network.”
Adam Price MS said:
“We have learnt two key lessons from the response to the pandemic so far – going into lockdown too late increases the spread of the virus and coming out too early risks undoing any benefits gained. That is why the approach to the post-fire break period must be slow and steady.
“There should certainly be no lifting of the travel restrictions which have rightly prevented people coming into Wales from Covid hotspots elsewhere in the UK.
“We know that any potential benefits of the fire break won’t be evident immediately. That’s why the Welsh Government must be clear exactly when it will be assessing whether or not the fire break has been successful. Until then, it is premature to lift restrictions entirely in a way which risks the fire rekindling. It would be counterproductive to suddenly ease all measures if the R number continues to be above 1.
“Ministers must also spell out how they have used the fire break period to make the test and trace system far more robust, free from its reliance on the failing UK lighthouse lab network. Mitigation measures as we come out of the fire break could include closing hospitality at 18:00 – backed by appropriate financial support – and a programme of blended learning in schools allowing for a 2-week rota for older pupils.
“A careful and cautious approach will lead to better public health outcomes, greater security for business and will avoid a permanent cycle of locking and unlocking.”