Chief Medical Officer statement on 21 day review: 28 May 2020
Advice provided to Welsh Ministers about the 21 day review of coronavirus restrictions by Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales.
This advice is informed by the outputs of the UK Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) and the Welsh Technical Advisory Cell (TAC), and through discussions with Chief Medical Officers in the 4 Nations.
I note that the transmission of Covid-19 in Wales appears to be either stable or reducing. My view remains that too early or extensive an easement of restrictions could lead to a return of exponential growth of viral transmission.
As the number of cases of Covid-19 in Wales continues to reduce, it becomes increasingly important to take account of the indirect harms which arise from lockdown measures. I am reassured by the progress that we are making on the development of the mitigation and monitoring measures which we have indicated as needing to be in place to support the easement of restrictions; these include the Test Trace Protect Programme, enhanced surveillance, and the development of a set of “circuit breakers” against which we can measure the impact of any policy changes.
I also note the dynamics of viral transmission; the knowledge that the virus does not transmit easily in outdoor environments and is rapidly inactivated by heat and sunlight provides us with opportunities to allow some lifting of restrictions on outdoor activity provided social distancing measures can be maintained. However, the corollary is that the virus is likely to thrive in cooler, indoor environments particularly where people gather closely together; this raises the real prospect of a resurgence in viral transmission in the autumn and winter. On the basis of this understanding:
- I recommend that Welsh Government uses the next review period to develop proposals for further increasing opportunities for the public to safely use a wider range of outdoor spaces.
- I recommend that public messaging highlights the potential need to re-impose more restrictive measures in the winter if viral activity increases.
I note the view of SAGE and TAC that modifications to lockdown measures can have a cumulative effect, should be incremental, and should be carefully monitored. I agree with the view of TAC that the current set of easements proposed in advice to the First Minister are unlikely to lead to significant increase in the community transmission of Covid-19 and that they could be put in place during the next 21 day review period, and I support implementation of these measures. I continue to recommend that any such easements should be complemented by continued strong messaging around: personal hygiene, social distancing, and expected behaviour when individuals develop symptoms of possible coronavirus infection.
Chief Medical Officer
Latest News from
Stay local to be lifted in Wales03/07/2020 16:10:00
The requirement to stay local will be lifted from 6 July, First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed today.
Nearly £10m to help improve water quality in Wales03/07/2020 11:05:00
Nearly £10m of capital funding will be used in 2020-21 to improve water quality across Wales and also tackle water pollution issues from abandoned metal mines.
Funding to support Welsh-language advice line for parents03/07/2020 09:05:00
A parenting and family advice charity has been awarded funding to extend its helpline service to Welsh speakers as part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to support parents during Covid-19 to stay safe and stay positive.
Team Wales approach to tackle climate change02/07/2020 16:05:00
Welsh Government welcomes a ‘team Wales’ approach across the whole public sector to realise the ambition of becoming a low carbon economy and help to tackle climate change.
Timetable for phased reopening of tourism sector02/07/2020 14:05:00
Wales’ hospitality sector will prepare to re-open outdoors from 13 July, International Relations Minister Eluned Morgan today confirmed.
Call goes out for Wales’ #LowCarbonHeroes as nation looks towards recovery from Covid-19 pandemic02/07/2020 11:05:00
It is now more than a year since the Welsh Government declared a climate emergency, and committed itself to achieving a carbon neutral public sector by 2030 and to coordinating action through its Low Carbon Plan to help other areas of the economy to make a decisive shift away from fossil fuels.
Welsh Government to extend measures to protect businesses impacted by coronavirus from eviction during summer01/07/2020 11:05:00
The Welsh Government is extending measures to protect businesses affected by coronavirus from eviction during the summer, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates, has announced.
Dental and optometry practices to see more patients in next phase of pandemic recovery01/07/2020 09:05:00
Dental and optometry practices across Wales are gradually reintroducing a broader range of services as part of the phased recovery of health services from the coronavirus pandemic.
Land Transaction Tax update: summer 202030/06/2020 16:05:00
An update on our Land Transaction Tax (LTT) system, guidance, and events for tax professionals.
£1.5m new Welsh Government funding will help victims and survivors of domestic abuse to Live Fear Free30/06/2020 14:05:00
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, today announced that VAWDASV (violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence) services in Wales are set to receive an additional £1.5m in revenue to help them respond to increased demands on services as a result of Covid-19.