‘Stay-at-home fortnight’ planned for whole of Wales, unions say | UK news

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A “circuit breaker” lockdown covering the whole of Wales looks likely to be put in place within days, union and council leaders believe.

No final decision has been made but the Wales Trades Union Congress said on Friday that it had been discussing the issue with the Welsh government and believed a “stay-at-home fortnight” would be brought in.

The TUC said non-essential shops and services could be forced to close. It is not clear whether schools would be affected nor when the circuit breaker would come into force.

Wales’s first minister, Mark Drakeford, will face pressure on Friday to give more details of what is being considered.

His political opponents are split on the issue. The Welsh Conservatives’ health spokesperson, Andrew RT Davies, implored Drakeford to think again before imposing nationwide restrictions. He said: “The decision to lockdown Wales once again will have devastating consequences, from an economic and public health perspective, and should be the last resort.”

Davies called for shielding of vulnerable people to be resumed and for the provision of personal protective equipment and testing to be prioritised in high-risk areas, such as hospitals, care homes, universities and meat factories. “It’s not too late for the Labour government to reconsider and choose a different approach in Wales,” he said.


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But the Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, called on the government to implement a circuit breaker without delay. “We need an urgent announcement from the first minister confirming a circuit breaker in Wales and outlining what exactly it will mean for people’s lives and livelihoods,” he said.

“Regrettably, we must pull the emergency cord without delay. The time this buys us must be used to build up a resilient, Welsh-based test, trace, isolate and support system, with adequate financial security for businesses and individuals.”

Council leaders in Caerphilly, where there is a local lockdown, said they believed a circuit breaker was on the cards.

In a letter to residents, the council’s leader, Philippa Marsden, said the council had been working with the government on its exit strategy from the local lockdown.

But she added: “The situation is changing so quickly that those discussions are almost irrelevant now because we are now likely to see a Wales-wide approach, and this will require a completely new exit strategy going forward.”

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales on Friday morning, Shavanah Taj, the general secretary of the Wales TUC, said there had been an initial meeting over the prospect of a circuit breaker between her organisation and the government.

She said: “It seems like we are talking about a stay-at-home fortnight. It looks as if we’re talking about non-essential areas being shut again.”

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: ‘Stay-at-home fortnight’ planned for whole of Wales, unions say | UK news

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