Wales Will Not “Rush” into Ending Lockdown Restrictions

The Welsh Health Minister says that, after 15 long months of lockdown, the country will not rush out of lockdown because “this [may not be] the end of the road”. Sky News has the story.

Eluned Morgan said Wales will not be rushed into making a decision about scrapping its coronavirus restrictions despite England’s plan to do so on July 19th.

She told a news conference in Cardiff: “We will have to learn to live with this virus and what I won’t give you is any assurances that this is the end of the road.

“We don’t know. There may be a new variant that escapes our vaccines, so I can’t make those kind of predictions.”

Boris Johnson [has announced] that face masks will no longer be required in many settings and social distancing restrictions will be removed in pubs and restaurants in England from July 19th.

Baroness Morgan said she was “surprised” that the U.K. Government was able to make such predictions and that the Welsh Government will be “following the data rather than following the politics” when it considers whether measures can be eased over the next few weeks.

Ministers in Cardiff Bay have so far refused to follow the U.K. and Scottish Governments in setting a date when they will ease restrictions.

Despite Wales having the best vaccination rates in the U.K., they argue that experts need more time to analyse the extent vaccinations have broken the link between infections and hospital cases.

When asked whether the majority of Covid restrictions should be lifted, Baroness Morgan replied: “We are very clear that we are still in a very difficult situation because the case numbers are increasing exponentially still in Wales.”

She told the reporters the emergence of the Delta variant “has sent cases rising again”, especially in North Wales where there are “very high” levels of infection in the community.

But she said ministers would need to consider the consequences of extending restrictions, such as the impact on mental health and the economy, especially given the reduced number of people being hospitalised with Covid.

Worth reading in full.

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