NEIL Hamilton, MS for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP Wales has appealed to the Welsh Government to make Covid measures proportionate.
Speaking in virtual plenary, Mr Hamilton, a member of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs committee, told members the current restrictions are disproportionate and urged the First Minister to take action.
During a debate on the new plan for Coronavirus restrictions, he said: “What we are debating today is not proportionate to the circumstances. Remember, it was predicted right at the start of this pandemic that, when we got to winter, cases were bound to rise, as all respiratory cases increase at this time. “Interestingly, compared with the previous four years, the death figures for all respiratory diseases are very much lower in 2020.
I am not minimising the importance of any death which is avoidable but the question is are these measures, which are inflicting such tremendous damage on the economy, going to be matched by a countervailing reduction in the number of people who are hospitalised and die? “I would like to see some humility from the Welsh Government. Sometimes it is hard to admit that you don’t have supreme power to control events, and governments often find themselves in these circumstances.
What is marked about the international experience is that, despite the very wide variations in the way governments have reacted to the pandemic, the disease has not been stopped in its tracks anywhere; in fact, quite the opposite.
“We have a problem which governments do not seem able to control. Apart from temporary stopgaps the disease has had a remorseless progress.
“Maybe the vaccines will free us from the terrible world in which we now live. But the performance of the economy is going to have long-term effects on everyone. These are not just economic effects but also in terms of health and well-being.
“I have every sympathy with the First Minister and his colleagues with the predicament in which they find themselves, but these measures are wholly disproportionate.
“It is obvious that, where infection rates are low in some parts of Wales, the restrictions will impose an unnecessary cost. Equally, in other parts of the country, urban areas in particular, restrictions have not been tough enough. I just have just one thing to say to the government, ‘Please, make your regulations proportionate.’ ”
He added: “I am horrified at the blanket nature of these measures. The vast majority of my Mid & West Region is rural, stretching from Pembrokeshire to Gwynedd and across to Powys. It is incomprehensible that these areas could be treated the same as the densely populated urban south. “The number of positive cases in Mid & West is extremely low. It does not warrant or deserve to be treated with this sort of contempt. Where is the evidence to support this national approach?
“Restrictions are needed where cases are genuinely high but Welsh Government needs to use common sense here. People in rural Wales are suffering unnecessarily. “