• Sun. Dec 18th, 2022

Pubs and restaurants would have to shut at 6pm if the Welsh Government brings in similar restrictions to Scotland’s tier 3 in Wales

Nov 28, 2020

Pubs and restaurants would be banned from serving alcohol and forced to shut after 6pm if Wales adopts restrictions similar to Scotland’s Tier 3 rules.
Welsh Government leaders are understood to be considering bringing in restrictions similar to those adopted in the third of Scotland’s four-tier coronavirus lockdown system.
Scotland has been the most successful UK nation at controlling the virus with a seven-day infection rate of 126.4 cases for every 100k people, compared to 157.2 in Northern Ireland, 198.5 in Wales and 200.4 in England – according to the data from the UK Government.
Under the Tier 3 rules in Scotland, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors and outdoors but only for the consumption of food and non alcoholic drinks. Alcoholic drinks cannot be served. Last entry is 5pm and all venues must be closed and all customers off the premises by 6pm.
Scotland’s rules differ from Wales in that in their tier 3, up to six people from two households can meet indoors or outdoors. In Wales, the maximum is four people but they can be from more than two households.
At Friday’s Welsh Government press conference, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that further restrictions on hospitality would be announced on Monday to ensure that there is enough headroom for Wales to relax coronavirus restrictions in time for Christmas. He said the R number in Wales is now as high as 1.4 meaning the virus is spreading exponentially again.
The Scottish rules are one of the options he is believed to be considering. Whatever restrictions on hospitality he does decide to bring in are set to be introduced in Friday next week. Cinemas, bowling alleys and other indoor entertainment venues will also have to close in Wales, although no date has yet been set.
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At the press conference, Mr Drakeford said: “We will be working over the weekend with partners to finalise the details of the new arrangements and to put in place a further major package of financial support to respond to those changes.
“I will give further details about the package on Monday. Non-essential retail; hairdressers; gyms and leisure centres will continue to operate as now. These new arrangements will apply to the whole of Wales.”
Infection rate rising in Wales
A further 21 people have died with coronavirus in Wales and more than 1,100 new positive cases have been confirmed.
Latest statistics released by Public Health Wales (PHW) on Friday show 1,105 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Wales a slight decrease from the 1,251 cases reported on Thursday.
There were also 21 new confirmed Covid deaths, which was down from the 28 announced 24 hours earlier by the NHS trust.
It means the infection rate in Wales continues to rise slowly after the firebreak lockdown.
South Korea sees coronavirus spike
South Korea has reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases for the third straight day, with the speed of viral spread unseen since the worst wave of the outbreak in spring.
The nation was one of the countries that controlled the virus most effectively in the spring but the new cases come after it eased social distancing restrictions to the lowest levels in October to support a weak economy, allowing high-risk venues like nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and spectators to return to sports.
The 504 cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday brought the national caseload to 33,375, including 522 deaths.
Around 330 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million population, where health workers are struggling to stem transmissions linked to hospitals, schools, saunas, gyms and army units.
Tiers needed to stop hospitals being overwhelmed, says Gove
Every hospital in England could be overwhelmed with coronavirus cases if new tier restrictions are not introduced, Michael Gove has warned.
The Cabinet Office Minister, writing in The Times, urged MPs to “take responsibility for difficult decisions” to curb the spread of Covid-19, amid anger from some Conservatives that much of England will face stringent restrictions.
Mr Gove said the decision to impose the restrictions was necessary to “pull the handbrake” and avoid the “disaster” of NHS hospitals – and private sector and newly-built Nightingale hospitals – becoming filled to capacity with only Covid patients and emergency cases.
“Keeping our hospitals open, available and effective was not just crucial to dealing with Covid-19. It was imperative for the health of the whole nation,” Mr Gove wrote.
“But the only way to ensure we can take care of cancer patients, administer radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and help stroke victims and treat heart attacks is by protecting the NHS,” he wrote.
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Mass testing plans criticised
Ambitious rapid coronavirus testing plans for England threaten to become a distraction from other key goals such as the roll-out of a vaccine, prominent health officials have warned.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised the fast mass community testing systems conducted in Liverpool – which gave results in around 20 minutes without the need for a laboratory – will be replicated in all tier three areas after lockdown ends. This covers areas with a combined population of some 23 million people.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Liverpool – where 300,000 people have been tested in the pilot scheme – had shown how effective the measure can be.
Mr Johnson signalled on Thursday that mass community testing was the way out of Tier 3 restrictions, saying it involved “everybody working together to kick Covid out”.
But the Faculty of Public Health and the Association of Directors of Public Health said in a joint statement this would be a massive undertaking that would stretch the country’s resources in the fight against Covid-19 such that other priorities may be compromised.
“Firstly, substantial resources – human and financial – are needed to deliver lateral flow testing at scale,” the two bodies said.
“The additional logistical capacity provided to Liverpool to set up and manage testing sites alone has been enormous, and it is difficult to envisage how or even whether this could be replicated at the pace being proposed across the country.
“This threatens to be a distraction from other activities, like planning and rolling out vaccines.”
People on shielding list given same vaccine priority as over 70s
People at very high risk from coronavirus, who were made to shield during the pandemic, have been given the same priority as the over 70s in the queue to receive a vaccine.
The provisional vaccine priority list published by Public Health England has placed people aged 18 or older who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable in the same priority group as those aged 70 and over.
It means people with conditions such as blood, bone or lung cancer, chronic kidney disease and Down’s Syndrome have been placed in priority group four of nine.
Gemma Peters, chief executive of charity Blood Cancer UK, said: “This is extremely good news.
“Putting people with blood cancer at the same priority level as those aged over 70 better reflects the fact that they are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.”
Hospitals in England expect vaccine in 10 days
Hospitals in England have been told to prepare for the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in as soon as 10 days, it has been reported.
According to The Guardian, hospitals could receive the first deliveries of a vaccine created by Pfizer/BioNTech between December 7 and December 9.
This vaccine, which reported early results suggesting the jab is 95% effective, needs to be stored at extremely low temperatures.
The newspaper said one senior hospital executive had been told to expect the vaccine on December 7 to give to staff during the following week.
But this timeframe will depend on if and when the jab is approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The PA news agency understands no date has been confirmed by NHS England for the rollout of the jab as there are still several steps to go through – including MHRA approval.
However, it is also understood that 10 days would be a reasonable time frame should the vaccine be approved soon.