PLAID CYMRU MS and Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth has called on the Welsh Government to “ramp up” its communications output to ensure that there is “no confusion” between lockdown measures operational in Wales and those announced for England.
He says, that “the Welsh Government’s messaging so far has been a whisper, now they need to shout.”
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all announced they would be sticking to the ‘Stay At Home’ messaging for another three weeks with three minor adjustments on the easing of restrictions.
However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement yesterday outlined different guidance and messaging for England which included easing of travel and leisure restrictions and permitting people to travel any distance to exercise.
Mr ap Iorwerth said there was widespread concern that due to a media deficit and confused messaging a lack of clarity on where those rules apply could threaten public health in Wales.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said it was the Welsh Government’s responsibility that any confusion in messaging is tackled at once to ensure that public health in Wales in not put at risk.
Mr ap Iorwerth urged the Welsh Government to ramp up communication with the public, investing in digital and print media – both local and on a UK-wide basis, to ensure the message is received.
Mr ap Iorwerth said progress in lowering community transmission should not be reversed by “confusing messaging”.
“In order to address the confusion and clarify the difference between Welsh and English lockdown measures, the Welsh Government must urgently ramp up their communications. This could include increasing advertising in both local, national and London based print press and massively boosting their social media advertising.”
“The Welsh Government should also reconsider the timing of their daily press conferences and their current reach. Perhaps by moving the conferences closer to the UK Government’s announcement, there would be more engagement with the Welsh public and less confusion over which rules apply to whom.”
“Our progress in lowering community transmissions should not be allowed to be undermined by confusing messaging from the Westminster Government and a lack of communication from the Welsh Government.”