Friday 16 October 2020


Mark Drakeford and areas of Wales already subject to local lockdowns

Labour-run Wales looks set to follow Northern Ireland as the second part of the UK to go into full national lockdown.  First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed on Friday that an announcement will be made on Monday, but it now looks inevitable that a 'circuit breaker' will be put in place to coincide with the half-term period.

Drakeford refused to call it a circuit breaker, preferring his own term - a 'fire-break'.  He said it would last 'at least two weeks' and claimed that it would be enough to slow the virus down 'until Christmas'.  It's a bold claim considering that the UK-wide lockdown took months to get the virus figures on a downward trend - not a fortnight.

The fire-break plan follows Drakeford's travel ban from areas of the UK with high infection rates.  Two thirds of the Welsh population are already subject to local lockdowns and have been for weeks, with 15 local authorities, the town of Llanelli and city of Bangor affected.  Despite these measures, the 'r' rate in Wales is estimated to be marginally higher than the rate in England.

Half-term in Wales is due to begin on Monday 26th October, so it's likely that the full lockdown will begin a week today.  At least we will now be able to see Starmer and Burnham's circuit breaker demand in action and, crucially, whether it will have any significant effect on the spread of the virus.