NEIL Hamilton, MS for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP Wales has called on the Welsh Government to use a more flexible approach when dealing with coronavirus.
Speaking in virtual plenary, Mr Hamilton, a member of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs committee, urged the First Minister to end the ‘draconian’ measures currently being inflicted on the people of Wales.
“I urge him to look at the way the pandemic has been dealt with in Switzerland. It has halved the daily rates of infection in the last month, despite pubs, restaurants, gyms and sports facilities remaining open.
“There have been national restrictions in Switzerland, but not the draconian kind that we are going to have to endure in Wales.
“Up to10 people can meet at private gatherings, there is an 11 o’clock curfew on pubs and restaurants, and face masks are compulsory in crowded areas.
“Switzerland has been flexible; it has allowed areas to choose for themselves how far restrictions should be extended beyond the basic national measures.
“Geneva has had a full lockdown, whereas Zurich and Bern have had almost no extra lockdown measures. On November 5, Switzerland recorded 10,128 new cases, 26% of them positive, and yet three weeks later, on November 27, the figure was reduced to 4,312 and a 15.8% positive ratio.
“The First Minister should follow the flexible approach of Switzerland, rather than the inflexibility that we associate more with the joyless socialist paradise of North Korea.”
During the Senedd meeting several members expressed concern about the latest restrictions which included banning pubs, cafes and restaurants selling alcohol until at least December 17.
Mr Hamilton further commented:
“I am horrified at these measures. Most of my region is rural, stretching from Pembrokeshire to Gwynedd and across to Powys. It is incomprehensible that these areas are being treated the same as the densely populated urban south.
“The number of positive cases is extremely low in most of my region. It does not warrant or deserve to be treated with this sort of contempt. Where is the evidence to support this national approach?
“Restrictions are needed where cases are genuinely high but Welsh Government needs to use common sense here. People in rural Wales are suffering unnecessarily.
“It is no coincidence that both Mark Drakeford and Health Minister Vaughan Gething represent Cardiff seats – one wonders if they have any idea what goes on outside their Cardiff Bay Bubble. They seem oblivious to the destruction they are wreaking on their own country as they continue on their wrecking ball path with little regard to the devastation they are inflicting on the economy and on people’s lives.”