Second Covid-19 fire-break lockdown in Wales ‘likely in January or February’

A second fire-break lockdown is likely in Wales in early January or February, a Welsh Government minister has warned.

The country is currently in the middle of a two-week national lockdown to try and control the spread of coronavirus.

And it will not be the last such measure, according to deputy minister for economy and transport Lee Waters, reports Wales Online.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement programme he said people should be prepared to come in and out of lockdowns until a Covid-19 vaccine is found.

He said: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see.”

A closed Primark on Queen Street on October 24, 2020 in Cardiff

He added: “The projections and papers we published on our worse-case scenario projections show it is likely we are going to need another firebreak in January or February.”

He said the first and second lockdowns came too late and cases and deaths are rising again.

“We are doing our best to flatten the curve. We can’t stop the curve, we can’t stop the virus spreading. Our best hope is to wait for a vaccine to help us bring it under control.”

Asked by presenter Vaughan Roderick if the Welsh Government risked losing the support of people after the essential shopping row, Mr Waters said this was being looked at, but suggested there would not be a change in policy on what supermarkets can and can’t sell.

Nearly 40,000 people have now signed a petition calling on the Labour administration to reconsider the ban on supermarkets selling non-essential goods.

The row has intensified over the weekend with images of supermarket aisles selling books and baby clothes, among other items, roped off.

Non-essential products are cordoned off at a Tesco Extra store in Pengam Green, Wales

The petition reads: “The Welsh Government, as part of its 17 day fire-break lockdown, is banning the selling of non-essential goods from shops that are allowed to remain open. We do not agree that this is a prudent or rational measure, and will create more harm than good.

“We do not agree for example that parents should be barred from buying clothes for their children during lockdown while out shopping. This is disproportionate and cruel and we ask that the decision be reversed immediately.”

Mr Waters suggested supermarkets could make a judgement on issues such as parents needing to buy a microwave to heat baby milk.

Entire aisles at Welsh supermarkets are sectioned off to comply with the rules

“It’s very difficult to draw a line and the problems we have been having over the last 48 hours are teething problems so in some supermarkets you can buy greetings  and batteries and in others you can’t,” he said.

“Now you should be able to do all those things because these things are available (to buy) in sectors we are not asking to close. In newsagents, for example, are allowed to stay open, so things newsagents sell supermarkets should be allowed to sell.

“That’s what the First Minister said on Twitter last night. We are going to sit down with supermarkets to review how things have gone over the weekend.

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething has defended the Welsh Government’s ban on supermarkets selling non-essential products

“We are not reviewing the requirements for supermarkets not to sell non-essentials we are going to review how it’s working in practice. Clearly there are some bumps.”

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething has defended the Welsh Government’s ban on supermarkets selling non-essential products during the country’s firebreak lockdown.

Mr Gething told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that the ban was not being reversed.

“We’re reviewing with supermarkets the understanding and the clarity of the policy because there’s been different application in different parts,” Mr Gething said.

“What we all need to take a step on is to remember why the firebreak has been introduced and to recognise that it is hard for lots of people.

“But we’re in a week where we’ve already seen 61 deaths take place here in Wales. Just about a month ago there were only six deaths in a week.

“So coronavirus is taking off, we are seeing more people lose their lives.”


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