Posted: Sat 11th Jul 2020

Updated: Sat 11th Jul

First Minister warns of future spikes “unless we all go on playing our part every day and in every way we can” for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jul 11th, 2020

The First Minister has said he will not hesitate to close visitor and tourist attractions in Wales if reopening them causes a spike in coronavirus.

This weekend marks the first weekend since the ‘stay local’ travel restrictions have been lifted in Wales, meaning people can now travel to see friends and family or visit beauty spots for the first time since March.

However there have been concerns that scenes of crowded beaches and visitor attractions in England could be repeated here in Wales.

Asked if he would close down areas that see high volumes of visitors followed by a spike in coronavirus cases, the first minister said he would.

Mr Drakeford added: “Yes, it’s a very easy answer.

“If you can see that there is a direct cause and effect between the way in which something is happening and coronavirus spiking again, then we would take action to make sure that those things were closed.”

The First Minister also noted that although cases have continued to fall in Wales, the lockdown restrictions that have been reintroduced in Melbourne, Australia, show how fast that the virus can spiral out of control.

He said: “We can only continue to lift restrictions if coronavirus cases remain under control.

“On June 9th, the City of Melbourne in Australia recorded a day when they were only two new confirmed cases of coronavirus altogether.

“Today, only a month later, five million people are in full lockdown again. That’s how quickly things can go wrong.

“This virus has not gone away. We could find all our hard work undone unless we all go on playing our part every day and in every way we can to go on keeping Wales safe.”

Ahead of the weekend North Wales Police have issued issued a plea to walkers and climbers who are considering heading to the region’s hills and mountains to stay safe.

With the forecast predicting dry and sunny spells, North Wales Police, Mountain Rescue colleagues and the Snowdonia National Park are urging anyone who is planning on visiting the area to do so safely and responsibly.

Detective Superintendent Gareth Evans, North Wales Police Search & Rescue Lead said: “Over recent months the majority have complied and stayed away, and we know many are looking forward to returning to our beautiful region to enjoy the outdoors.

“However if you do intend on visiting the mountains please ensure you stay safe, be responsible and that you have the correct equipment and clothing. Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways are clear for emergency access.

“Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow. Please also dispose of your litter responsibly or take it home with you.

“Coronavirus remains a real threat. Please remember that our Mountain Rescue Teams are all volunteers, and because of Covid-19, their numbers may be reduced due to many being employed as key workers.

“Follow the rules, enjoy the region safely and respect local communities.”

Chris Lloyd, Press Officer for the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association added: “We would like to thank all those who have taken heed of notices not to venture onto the hills or mountains during the strict lockdown period.

“However if you are planning on heading into the hills and mountains to take advantage of the good weather this weekend we urge you to be responsible and to stay safe.

“We will have fewer team members to carry our kit. They will also be dressed in PPE including wearing waterproofs (whatever the weather) and will be wearing surgical face masks, surgical gloves and eye protection.

“Of course no one sets off for a day in the hills or mountains expecting to be rescued. However experienced and knowledgeable you may feel you are most rescues are the result of simple slips and trips.

“Reduce the need to call for assistance by taking fewer risks, keeping to familiar routes, being suitably equipped and be more self-reliant. Carry additional clothing and sustenance in case the rescue team takes longer to get to you. Maintain battery life on at least one mobile phone in the group. Take a face mask of your own to protect others and hand sanitiser to protect yourself.

“Do not be over-ambitious. You may have not been on the hills for a few months and may not be as fit as before.

“Please also remember that footpaths have not been used so nature may have started to reclaim them. Rocks and steps may be greasy and there may be loose rocks and even rockfalls.

“Consider self-rescue. Shout to others in the area. If you really are lost, stuck or injured and cannot self-rescue do call 999. Ask for the Police and ask for Mountain Rescue. The team leader may be able to locate your mobile phone and be able to guide you to safety.”

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