THE First Minister of Wales painted a bleak picture of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wales when Speaking at his weekly briefing but offered hope in Welsh Government’s plans to be issued on Monday (Jan 11).
Mark Drakeford said that the new strain of the virus had taken a firm hold in North and South Wales despite a slight fallback over Christmas. He said that there were very high levels of the virus circulating in Wales adding pressure to the NHS.
The First Minister said that there were now 2,700 Covid related patients in Welsh hospitals with 143 in critical care beds. He said that this was now a dangerous dimension to the public health crisis in Wales with the virus being highly contagious and spreading quickly.
Mr Drakeford said that Welsh Government would now strengthen restrictions in the workplace in order to protect workers, He said that he would be working with employers and unions to that end.
He criticised what he called the small minority for breaking the rules and thanked those who were staying at home and following the rules. He stressed that action would be taken against those who do not follow the rules stating that local authorities and the police have my full support and that stepped up enforcement would continue.
On the issue of vaccinations the First Minister said that the Welsh NHS had the capability to vaccinate having vaccinated 1,100,0000 people against flu last year.
The First Minister said that there was no plan for a curfew in Wales but that he did have options to further strengthen level 4 measures.
On the question of the safety of the vaccines the First Minister said that people should rely on trusted sources, people who know what they are talking about. He made a reassurance that the vaccines had the endorsement of the Chief Medical Officer. He stressed that vaccination was not a contest or competition and that he would not allow anyone to exaggerate Wales lagging behind the rest of the U.K. The difference he said was one decimal point.
14 mobile vaccination units, more army personnel, more GP surgeries providing vaccination and building up capacity to vaccinate as supply increases were the reasons the First Minister was offering a glimmer of hope for a brighter better future.