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Wales’ First Minister continues cautious approach to ending lockdown

WALES’ First Minister, speaking at the Welsh Government’s daily news conference, said that he will not shift from his cautious approach to easing coronavirus restrictions “however loud the demands.”

Mark Drakeford added that coronavirus cases have been falling in Wales, with the R number – the average number of people infected by each person who gets the virus – now down from 0.8 to 0.7.

He also indicated that there were 32 people in critical care for coronavirus, which is the lowest figure since 25 March and added that three-quarters of care homes in Wales have had no cases of the virus,

On Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the First Minister revealed that there was now a stockpile of 78 million items, with 14 million items having been supplied to other parts of the UK.

Mr. Drakeford added:

“We can choose a path in which we regain our freedoms gradually, carefully and safely, using the headroom we have made together – but never taking steps which would knowingly undermine everything we have achieved,” he said.

“Or we could throw it all away, lift the restrictions in a rush, and run the real risk that this deadly virus would be on the rise again in Wales.

“I want you to know that whatever happens elsewhere and however loud the demands to do things differently maybe, we will stick to the path we have chosen.”

On testing capacity, Mark Drakeford revealed that Wales now has the ability to carry out 12,300 tests a day – but that the number of actual tests in the past 24 hours was 3,300.

“We are nearing completion of testing every single care home resident and staff member in Wales, and from next week, we will continue to offer weekly tests for staff in care homes for the next four weeks,” he added.

“As the position has improved, we have been able to help care homes plan for additional visits to residents from family and friends, provided these can be done safely and in line with the guidance.”

The First Minister indicated that a new drive-through test centre has opened in Deeside, with another soon to open in Abergavenny.

The next review of the rules in Wales is due in a week’s time.


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