Mark Drakeford hits out at coronavirus restrictions in England
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His appearance will come just 24 hours after Mr Drakeford appeared on Sky News where he accused Boris Johnson of “ignoring the science” in refusing to introduce coronavirus restrictions. Speaking on Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Mr Drakeford said: “I’m asked time after time why isn’t Wales doing the same things as England?
“My answer was to point out that in this debate it is not Wales that is the outlier.
“Wales is following the same path of putting protections in place that is being followed by Scotland, Northern Ireland, and not just devolved governments in the UK, but governments across Europe and across the world.
“The questions as to why the UK Government has decided not to follow that course of action are for them to answer, not for me.
“I think they have not done what the science would have told them they should do.
“But that’s decisions for them to answer for – I’m answerable for the decisions we take here in Wales.”
He also defended his earlier comments that England was the “global outlier” in the fight against the Omicron variant.
On Friday, Mr Drakeford launched a blistering attack on the Tory leader, accusing him of leading a Government which was “politically paralysed”.
At a Welsh Government press briefing on Friday, Mr Drakeford said: “In England, we have a Government that is politically paralysed, with a Prime Minister who is unable to secure an agreement through his Cabinet to take the actions that his advisers have been telling him ought to have been taken.
“And even if he could get his Cabinet to address them, he can’t get his MPs to agree them.”
Asked to justify the continuation of restrictions for another week following the Welsh Government’s weekly review, while neighbouring England remains rule-free, the First Minister said: “The outlier here is not Wales.
“Wales is taking action, as is Scotland, as is Northern Ireland, and as are countries right across Europe, and right across the globe.
“The one country that stands out as not taking action to protect its population is England.
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“The real question is, why is England such a global outlier, in the way in which governments elsewhere are attempting to protect their populations from coronavirus?
“The political contrast between Wales and England is this: here in Waleswe have a Government that is capable of acting and determined to act when it is necessary to protect our population.”
Alert level 2 restrictions remain in Wales, including wearing face coverings indoors, groups in public places such as restaurants limited to six people, and working from home if possible.
Indoor events of more than 30 people or outdoor events for more than 50 people are not allowed.
Mr Johnson and a number of Tory MPs have previously mocked Wales’s restrictions.
During a House of Commons session in Parliament on Thursday, the Prime Minister called the measures “baroque eccentricities”, and former business secretary Andrea Leadsom described them as “bonkers”.
On Friday there were 994 people with Covid-19 being treated in Welsh hospitals while around 40 are in critical care – the majority of whom are unvaccinated.
Mr Drakeford said that having different restrictions in both England and Wales made public health communications “more difficult”.
He said: ”When we have different messages across our border that does make it more difficult for us.
“We have faced this in the past and we go on doing as we see it as the right thing to protect lives and livelihoods here in Wales.”
He also said he was hopeful the restrictions could be lifted in Wales as he was expecting a steep decline in infections once the peak in the next couple of weeks was reached.
Mr Drakeford added: ”As soon as we are in a position to see the peak past and the position improving, of course, we will want to revert to the far more modest level of protections we had in place only a few weeks ago.
”We’re hopeful that the level of protection we currently have in place will be sufficient to mitigate the impact of Omicron to help our NHS to deal with the astonishing pressures which it’s having to deal with every day.”
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