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Criticism and praise of sorts for First Minister’s stance on Christmas

WITHIN minutes of the First Minister announcing new Covid-19 measures in Wales his critics have both praised and criticised him.

Neil McEvoy MS said:

“The WNP opposes Drakeford’s Christmas lockdown. His two previous lockdowns have failed. He should not repeat the same mistake, which will increase poverty and ruin mental health. We need a consistent set of rules, with businesses allowed to trade safely and efficient track and trace. Drakeford’s boom and bust cycle of lockdowns must end. Poverty kills.”

Responding to the latest Coronavirus restrictions from Welsh Government, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said,

“With a worsening situation in Wales and clinicians warning the NHS will soon be overwhelmed, introducing further restrictions on Christmas Day is both unavoidable and the right thing to do – but it should be done on a regional basis to reflect local levels of Coronavirus cases. With many areas of the south already exceeding the Tier 4 threshold and the scientific advice indicating clearly that further restrictions are needed, Ministers must explain why it is delaying their introduction for another week.

“Given the mixed messaging from the Prime Minister and Westminster, the Welsh Government need to change the rules not just the guidance on household mixing at Christmas. Otherwise, it’s simply a recipe for confusion and poor adherence to the new policy.

“The sad reality at the moment is that we are lurching from one crisis to another with new lockdowns becoming unavoidable emergency measures due to the failure of Wels Government policy. We will now need additional support for those people and businesses that will be hit hardest by these new restrictions. But above all we need a clear and consistent strategy which regains control of the virus and sets out a roadmap to reopening and recovery, giving people confidence and hope.

Jane Dodds Leader of The Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

“Whilst many will view these measures as sensible given the recent spike in Covid cases, many people who work in the hospitality sector or run a small business will be devastated after a year when they have struggled to survive.

“The Welsh Government must ensure that any financial support for businesses, particularly family owned and small businesses, is adequate and is paid promptly to aid their survival over the next few weeks.”

Last week the First Minister said that he didn’t think sentimentality played a part in his decision making over Christmas arrangements stating that 2020 had been a very tough year for most people. Pressure has been mounting on the First Minister from his own Labour colleagues at Westminster to introduce tougher measures.

Mr. Drakeford also said that  he will not “lightly” put aside an agreement for relaxed coronavirus rules over Christmas.

Pressure is growing on the four UK governments to reconsider plans to allow three households to meet between 23 and 27 December.

But Mark Drakeford said harm would be done “in either direction”.

The First Minister today confirmed the current conditions mean Wales has met the criteria in the new traffic-light Coronavirus Control Plan to move to alert level four.

The new restrictions will apply to all of Wales.


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