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The Welsh government has been criticised for not giving details of its “exit strategy” following the 17-day “firebreak” lockdown beginning at 6pm today.
The first minister Mark Drakeford said ministers would meet next week to continue to discuss the national restrictions that will follow the fire-break.
Speaking at a press conference in Cardiff, he said:
Our ambition is that we will not need to have this level of restriction again in Wales before Christmas.
I want shops to trade, I want to be able to offer hope. Provided we do the right thing we will still be able to enjoy a version of the holiday.
Drakeford said the sort of national measures that would be looked at included restricting travel and controlling the way households operate.
But the Tory leader in the Welsh parliament, Paul Davies said:
The Welsh government has no exit strategy. People are concerned that this second Wales-wide lockdown is just the start of rolling lockdowns over the coming months.
The spread of Covid-19 in the UK is continuing to rise, with data suggesting as many as 1 in 130 people had the disease in the community in England alone in the previous week.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, based on swabs from randomly chosen households, there were about 35,200 new cases a day in the community in England between 10-16 October.The data, the team adds, suggests at any given time that week around 1 in 130 people had Covid-19 – a total of about 433,300 people. That’s a rise from 1 in 160 people – a total of 336,500 infected people – for the previous week, and a total of 224,400 the week before that.
Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the survey, has said the situation is concerning.
Prevalence is high and still increasing rapidly. There may be some sign of a slight slowdown, but, given the urgent need for prevalence to start to go down, we should not focus on small reductions in a still positive growth rate.
The latest estimates for new infections from the ONS are on the lower end of those released by the MRC Biostatistics Unit Covid-19 Working Group, that on Wednesday suggested there could be 35,100–82,100 new infections a day in England.
Dr Michael Head from the University of Southampton said the UK situation will likely get far worse before it gets better.
Even though rates in those younger populations are dropping slightly, they remain high whilst rates in older and more vulnerable groups are increasing rapidly.
There is widespread community transmission all around the UK, with around 1000 people being hospitalised with Covid-19 every day. We can expect to see higher numbers of hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 across November.
Lobby briefing - main points