Addressing the nation, Wales First Minsiter announced a two-weeks circuit breaker lockdown to prevent the further spreading of coronavirus. Mr Drakeford said “this is the moment to come together” and “play our part in a common endavour”. The lockdown will run for a fixed period from 6pm on Friday until November 9th. Mr Drakeford told a Welsh Government press conference in Cardiff that the “firebreak” was necessary to reduce the spread of coronavirus and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.
“It will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need,” Mark Drakeford told reporters. “Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home.”
“The only exceptions will be critical workers and jobs where working from home is not possible,” Mr Drakeford said.
All non-essential businesses will have to close.
The First Minister added university students in Wales will have to remain in their university accommodation.
“There will be no gatherings with people you do not live with either indoors or outdoors during this two-week period,” Mr Drakeford said.
“There will continue to be an exception for adults living alone and single parents will continue to be able to join with one household for support.”
Mr Drakeford also announced a £300 million package to support Welsh businesses during the lockdown, but admitted the “real help” will have to come from Westminster.
Every business covered by the small business rate relief will receive a £1,000 payment.
Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses that have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.
He also admitted the number of cases will not be expected to fall by November 9th but that the results of the temporary lockdown should be visible one week after re-opening.
Reacting to the announcement, Paul Davies, Conservative leader of the opposition in the Senedd, said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.
“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns.
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“This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year.
“The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.
“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate.
“The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.
“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”