PLAID Cymru Leader Adam Price has expressed concern that people may have to choose between their health and paying their bills as questions are raised about sick pay leave for people on zero hours contracts.

Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said that in order to prevent the virus from spreading, key workers, universal credit claimants and those on zero hours contracts could be in a position where they have to self-isolate.

The First Minister said the issue had been “discussed” during the COBRA meeting yesterday.

Mr Price warned that people should not have to “choose between their health or paying their bills” and expressed his disappointment that the First Minister had not been able to provide those people with financial reassurance.

The number of people on zero hour contracts between June 2018 and July 2019 increased by 35%. Only 1 in 7 of those receive sick pay.

Upon questioning by Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price, the First Minister also confirmed that Welsh Government were working on the assumption that up to 80% of the Welsh population would end up contracting COVID-19.

Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price also expressed concern that Wales had not put “certain measures in place” after the publication of the Coronavirus: action plan published today by the four nations.

According to the action plan, in England medical professionals and the police will have powers to detain and direct individuals suspected of having the virus. In Scotland, similar power will reside with Health Boards and in northern Ireland the public health agency.

In Wales, local authorities will have powers to apply for an order to be made by the Justice of the Peace to isolate, detain or require individuals to undergo medical examination.

Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price expressed concern that the powers available to Wales to prevent the spreading of the virus were “significantly weaker” compared to the other three nations.

Mr Price said Wales needed “equivalent regulatory powers” like those in England, Scotland and northern Ireland so that Wales could “adequately deal with any potential outbreak”.

The Plaid Cymru Leader also called for daily updates on the number of positive and negative Coronavirus tests as is currently the case in Scotland.

Speaking during FMQs, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said,

“The latest UK Government assessment is that up to a fifth of the workforce may be off sick during the peak an epidemic. The number of people on zero hour contracts between June 2018 and July 2019 increased by 35% – only 1 in 7 get sick pay.

“In order to prevent the virus from spreading, key workers, universal credit claimants and those on zero hours contracts could be in a position where they have to self-isolate. It is deeply concerning that the First Minister could offer those people no financial reassurance of sick pay. We could be in a position where people have to choose between their health or paying their bills.

“The powers available to Wales to detain or restrict individuals suspected of having the virus are significantly weaker compared to England, Scotland and northern Ireland.

“We need equivalent regulatory powers here in Wales – like England, Scotland and northern Ireland, so that we can adequately deal with any potential outbreak ourselves.

“We also need daily updates on the number of people who are tested positive and negative as is currently the case in Scotland.

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