THE First Minister of Wales has said that there is no reason why businesses should not reopen as long as they follow guidelines and put the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff at the forefront of their thinking.
In answer to a question from Llanelli Online asking why businesses could not reopen based on following the same procedures as supermarkets are taking the First Minister replied:
“Wales has never had policy of closing businesses. We want businesses to operate safely and put the health, safety and well being of their workforce at the front of their thinking.
“Where businesses are able to follow guidelines and take the precautions for social distancing we want those businesses to operate.
“Where they can do it in the right way there shouldn’t be a reason for not doing the important business of keeping our economy going.”
Speaking today, Friday (Apr 17) at the Ministerial briefing press conference the First Minister Mark Drakeford answered questions from the media on what measures the Welsh Government are taking in the light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The First Minister also hinted that rather than Wales taking a unique approach to lifting restrictions and facing geographic complexities that came with that, Wales may have to lift restrictions as part of a UK wide approach.
The Key Points were as follows:
• 300 critical care beds provided with 17,000 beds in NHS to deal with crisis
• Remembered those people who have died and sent sympathies to families
• Thanked the people of Wales for their cooperation
• Three weeks more for lockdown, efforts have made a real difference
• 7th April highest number of new admissions to welsh hospitals at 196, below that figure every day since, as low as 105 yesterday
• Number of people needing critical care rose rapidly March and April to 161, stabilised and below figure every day since
• Look forward cautiously and carefully to future. Next three weeks used to plan ahead to prepare for easing of lockdown
• Outlined six measures for lifting lockdown restrictions
• Common objective measures when safe to lift lockdown measure on advice of science and medical staff
• Public Health Surveillance measures in place to monitor any outbreak
• Strengthen NHS for what lies ahead
• When lifting restrictions actions to take first have to pass series of tests. Can it be policed, does it protect public health, can it be reversed
• Continue to learn from international experience. Need to use time to stay in close touch with other countries to find out what is and isn’t working
• Draw in experience and expertise from in and beyond Wales to challenge and contribute ideas for future of health wellbeing and economy
• Asked a great deal of people of Wales, acting together making difference
• In three weeks lockdown may begin to ease
• Problems at care homes shielding residents needs to be resolved locally
• Dialysis patients not on shielding list need to contact their local authority via helplines via hub
• Encouraged by the way local authorities have been stepping in
• End of three weeks restrictions will be guided by science and data. Planning for the days when things will change. If the virus is suppressed and it is safe to do so.
• Patterns different across UK, moving west and north. Differences may be eroded. But Wales continues to work with other Governments across UK.
• Geographical complexities to lifting restrictions uniquely for Wales.
• Greater urgency testing and PPE at care homes. Don’t think it is the case, two deliveries of PPE each week. 40% of stock gone to care sector in Wales.
• First Minister joined in clapping for NHS but urged people not to gather in crowds to do so without social distancing
• Work closely with governments, no one was prepared. Challenge for governments, with hindsight things could be done differently.
• We want businesses to open safely with health and wellbeing at front of their thinking. Where businesses are able to take precautions, do it in the right way no reason why they shouldn’t open and keep economy going.
• Advice on masks is it is not a clinical course of action they would advise. We will do it in Wales if and when we are advised.
Testing for front line workers, offering LA staff in social care and residential care. Local resilience forums needed to be tested we will be able to do that
• Wales shut down at the same time as rest of UK
• Patients being discharge from hospital with symptoms always tested. Medical advice no advantage of testing those leaving with no symptoms
• Understands the anxiety of care home staff. Health minister reviewing testing of patients leaving hospital into residential care
• Fly tipping increasing and urged people in Wales to hold rubbish destined for recycling centres until time for it to be cleared
• Welsh Gov exit strategy is to use next three weeks planning exit strategy
• No part of Wales immune from virus
• Rate of spread suppressed as a result of cooperation of Welsh communities
• Value those people avoid pattern of growing inequality. People we rely on now lowest paid people while higher paid people less to offer during pandemic. Welsh Gov doesn’t pay care home workers. Maybe money will be one of the ways we can recognise their contribution