PLAID CYMRU MS Delyth Jewell has raised concerns at the new guidance for those shielding from Coronavirus despite the ”R” number remaining the same.
The Welsh Government confirmed today that those who had been shielding from Coronavirus could now exercise outdoors from Monday, following similar advice being issued to vulnerable people in England.
However Plaid Cymru MS Delyth Jewell questioned why the guidance was changing for the group of “extremely vulnerable people” whilst the R rate had not changed.
The First Minister confirmed on Friday that the rate of transmission was still 0.8.
Ms Jewell questioned what advice the Welsh Government had received to change its policy and whether the new guidance would protect the most vulnerable people.
The Shadow Local Government Minister also raised concerns about the way the change was communicated to the press first before letters were sent to the shielding group.
Ms Jewell said letters should have been sent “weeks ago” and that telling the press first and people second was “wrong”.
Those who are shielding will receive a letter from Wales’ Chief Medical Officer over the next two weeks setting out the “next steps”.
Delyth Jewell said,
“The last few months have been incredibly challenging for those who have had to shield. They have had to go months without leaving the house and months without seeing loved ones. The huge sacrifices they have made must be recognised.
“However, questions must be asked on why the advice is changing for this extremely vulnerable group of people whilst the virus is still at the same rate of transmission as it was a few weeks ago. The First Minister himself confirmed on Friday that the R rate was still at 0.8 – which is dangerously close to 1. What advice have the Welsh Government received to make them change this policy? Can they guarantee the new guidance will protect this vulnerable group of people?
“And why was this change in policy communicated to the press before the very people it will effect?
“Letters should have been sent to keep shielding people updated weeks ago, so that they could prepare for any changes. This will affect their lives hugely. Telling the press first and people second was both wrong and disappointing. No one should have found out about this change through reading confused reports in the press.
“Without a robust test and trace system in place we cannot possibly know where the virus is spreading in our communities. Loosening the lockdown without such a system in place risks a second wave. Getting track and trace right must continue to be the Welsh Government’s top priority going forward before we can even think about easing restrictions further.