“No one should expect any sort of significant easing” of level four restrictions at next review period, says Wales’ health minister
Wales’ health minister has that no one should expect “any sort of significant easing” of the lockdown restrictions in place at the next review period.
The current level four restrictions have been in place since December 20 with a strict “stay at home” message in place.
Since their introduction the number of new daily cases across parts of Wales have slowly started to decrease, with the rolling seven day average at 284.8 per 100,000.
In North Wales – particularly Wrexham and Flintshire – this has been a slower decrease. The number of new positive cases in Wrexham today was +122 and a rolling seven day average of 673 per 100,000. The positive proportion of tests for the area was 29.3%.
Asked today if Wales could expect to see any easing of the restrictions at the next review in just over a week’s time, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said that no one should expect to see “any sort of significant easing”.
He noted that whilst cases across Wales are starting to decrease, hospitals remain under “immense pressure”.
Mr Gething said: “While I can’t prejudge the Welsh Government decision, what I would say is, and I’ve said this before, no one should expect any sort of significant easing at the end of the next review period, at the end of January,
“Our case rates are still relatively high, it’s good news that we’ve gone under 300 cases per 100,000. The progress is in the right direction at present.
“We’ve also seen a drop in the positivity rate, it wasn’t that long ago that nearly one in four people who tested were testing positive.
“We’ve seen a reduction in that positivity rate in a material amount, but it’s still really quite high. Our case rates remain high or positivity rates remain high and as you know, our NHS is still under significant pressure.
“We’ve seen a slight easing on the pressure and critical care, but it’s still operating at nearly 150% of its capacity.
“That’s where you’ve got to be really cautious because if we come out of level four too soon and too fast, we could well see a rebound in COVID rates and we end up doing something that overwhelms our health service with all the harm that that would cause to our staff and people who need our health service. So
“People shouldn’t expect any significant easing at the end of this current phase but the government will have to look at all the detail, all the information, and obviously take account of the advice we’ll receive from the chief medical officer and our scientific advisors.”
No firm decision has been in any of the four UK nations on when lockdown measures will start to ease, with restrictions in Scotland yesterday formally extended through until mid-February.
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