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UK News

Welsh Christian politician slams Covid restrictions: Firebreak didn’t work, what we need is a fire blanket!

by Tola Mbakwe

A Welsh Christian politician says people are outraged that only two households can meet over Christmas in Wales, instead of three like the rest of the UK.

The new rule will be made into law and will be in effect from 23rd December to 27th December. 

Darren Millar, a Conservative member of the Welsh Senedd, told Premier it’s not fair to change the rules so close to Christmas.

“People are enraged, frankly, about the massive change in the Christmas arrangements which are going to have to be made by families across Wales.

“They were looking forward to being able to get together. Many of them have been apart for a very long time and they've made travel arrangements… it's going to cause massive disappointment and disruption.

“I think that people had entered into a contract with governments across the UK about the Christmas arrangements and I think that they would have been better left the way that they were.”

At Wednesday’s Welsh Government briefing, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The fewer people we mix with in our homes, the less chance we have of catching or spreading the virus.”

Mr Drakeford denied that the different messages across the UK are “confusing”, saying: “You have to recognise that the position is different in parts of the United Kingdom as it has been through the whole of the coronavirus experience.

“We face a particularly challenging moment as we go into those five days of Christmas.”

Mr Drakeford said he “cannot simply set aside” messages he has received from people explaining to him the impact that cancelling the relaxed period will have on their lives, despite NHS staff warning that going ahead with it will put further strain on an already overstretched health service.

Millar, who represents Clwyd West in north Wales, said while he doesn’t think the Government should have changed Christmas restrictions, he agrees that something has to be done about coronavirus infection rates.

One in five people in Wales are testing positive for the virus, while on 15th December more than 2,100 people were in hospital with Covid-19. 

Wales will go into its third full lockdown from 28th December.

All non-essential retail will close on the evening of Christmas Eve and all hospitality from 6pm on Christmas Day, but restrictions for household mixing will only come in after the five days of relaxed measures at Christmas.

“I do agree that doing nothing in the post-Christmas period was not an option, given the way that the cases were spiraling out of control,” Millar said.

“In South Wales, we had a firebreak lockdown just over a month ago, it didn't work. What we need now is a fire blanket in order to put these things out in those parts of south Wales where things are really descending into a very serious situation.”

He said he thinks the Government should take a more regional approach to restrictions so people in areas of the country which don’t have high infection rates aren’t in a lockdown for no reason.

Meanwhile, it’s been revealed the results of 11,000 Covid tests haven't been included in Wales' figures because of a computer glitch.

Maintenance work on Public Health Wales systems at the end of last week meant the numbers were not included on top of 11,911 positive cases reported by the agency between 9th December and 15th December.

On Thursday, Mr Drakeford denied the data had been "missing" from the country's figures in recent days and was known by the Welsh Government.

Listen to Premier’s interview with Darren Millar here:

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