Mark Drakeford says people in Wales shouldn’t hand deliver CHRISTMAS CARDS because ‘the more we risk meeting people the more the risks are’ of spreading coronavirus
- Wales First Minister said he intended to ‘deliver fewer cards by hand this year’
- He suggested delivering Christmas cards in person risked spread of coronavirus
- He said ‘more we risk meeting people’ the greater the risk of Covid-19 infections
Mark Drakeford today suggested people in Wales should not deliver their Christmas cards in person because it risks increasing the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking as the country exited its two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown, the First Minister said this year he intends to ‘deliver fewer cards by hand’ and he will be ‘relying’ on the Royal Mail.
He told a press conference that ‘the more we get about and the more we risk meeting people, the more the risks are’ of Covid-19 infections.
His comments are likely to spark a backlash from his political opponents who have criticised Mr Drakeford throughout the coronavirus crisis for what they believe has been an overly cautious and draconian response by the Welsh government.
It came as Mr Drakeford said there are ‘tentative early positive signs’ that the ‘firebreak’ lockdown which saw people told to stay at home and non-essential shops closed has helped slow infection rates.
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford today suggested people should not deliver Christmas cards in person because it could increase the risk of coronavirus infections
Mr Drakeford was asked during this afternoon’s briefing whether it is safe for people to deliver Christmas cards to their neighbours and friends in person as they normally would.
He replied: ‘As far as I know, there is no reason why people should not be sending other people Christmas cards.
‘People have continued to mark other occasions, birthdays and so on, by sending cards in the whole of this year.
‘I think our colleagues in the Royal Mail have done a fantastic job. We talk about frontline workers a lot, don’t we, and there are many frontline workers.
‘Of course all workers in health and social care, but those people who have kept our mail services going right throughout the pandemic.
‘I think myself I probably will deliver fewer cards by hand this year because the more we get about and the more we risk meeting people, the more the risks are.
‘I will be relying on the hugely professional services of those who work in the Royal Mail and as ever we will be thanking them for the enormous efforts they make to make sure that our Christmas post gets from us to those who this year more than ever I think we want to be in touch with.’
The end of the ‘firebreak’ lockdown in Wales means groups of up to four people can now meet in cafes, pubs and restaurants while shops, gyms, hairdressers and places of worship can also reopen.
People will only be allowed to meet up inside homes with members of one other household if they have joined into a ‘bubble’ while travel restrictions have also been eased.
But Mr Drakeford stressed this afternoon that people should not take the end of lockdown as a green light to radically alter their behaviour.
He said: ‘The fewer people you meet, the fewer journeys you make, the more you are doing to protect yourself and others.’
He added: ‘The fact that you can travel is not an invitation to travel and it certainly is not an instruction to travel.’
Mr Drakeford said ‘coronavirus is still very much with us’ and the discovery of a mutated strain of the disease linked to mink farms in Denmark showed the crisis is still ‘full of unpleasant surprises’.
‘We won’t know the full impact of our firebreak for a couple of weeks yet but there are some tentative early positive signs, which gives us some hope,’ he said.
‘Mobility data shows large increases in people staying at home during the firebreak, similar to levels seen in May.
‘It is vital that working from home continues beyond today.’
He added: ‘The all-Wales level has fallen back from 250 cases per 100,000 people to just under 220 cases.’
However, the number of people admitted to hospital continues to rise, with more than 1,400 coronavirus-related current cases, higher than in April.
Experts believe there will be a lag between the lockdown and a significant impact on case numbers due to the amount of time it takes for the virus to develop.
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