World news – GB – Second Welsh national lockdown ‘not imminent’


A second national coronavirus lockdown in Wales is « not imminent, but always possible, » Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said.

It comes as the UK government has warned of tougher restrictions after a sharp rise in cases across all four nations.

Two counties in Wales – Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf – have been placed under local lockdowns.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, he said: « I don’t think that’s [national lockdown] imminent, but it’s always possible.

« If we get to the point where we have a significant group of local restrictions we need to think about whether a regional approach is needed or whether actually we need to take a national approach. »

Mr Gething added there was an « increasing tide » of cases and most were in the south-eastern part of Wales.

He said: « Every day we have to consider the picture across Wales, comparing where we start this week to where we started last week and the week before.

« We’ll have to make more choices this morning, there’ll be more figures available and I’ll have to take on board the advice and make a decision, together with the first minister, but it’s entirely possible more restrictions could happen this week. »

Mr Gething also criticised a lack of communication between the UK and Welsh governments after England’s health secretary Matt Hancock announced people there could be fined up to £10,000 if they failed to self-isolate.

He said: « I’m really disappointed that announcement didn’t come after a proper four-nation engagement around it.

« I’d seen briefings in the papers but that’s not the same as having a proper grown-up conversation with ministers across all four nations of the UK. That’s the way I think business should be done. »

The UK government said: « We have confronted this virus as one United Kingdom, working with the devolved administrations and local partners to get through the pandemic.

« There have been hundreds of meetings and calls with the devolved administrations and local partners since the pandemic began. This has included Cobr meetings, committees and dozens of other meetings involving UK government ministers and officials. This will continue to be a key part of the planning and communication of the overall response. »

Mr Gething said the Welsh Government would « consider » imposing similar fines, but would also look at ways to support people to self-isolate.

Later on Monday, Chris Whitty, the UK government’s chief medical adviser, is expected to say the trend of coronavirus cases in the UK is « heading in the wrong direction ».

Mr Gething said on Monday morning he had not seen a copy of what Prof Whitty would be saying.

« Speed » and « action » are required to halt the rise in cases, the UK’s chief scientific adviser warns.


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