THE First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford dared to signal that the sacrifices being made by the people of Wales were beginning to pay off. Speaking at his press briefing the First Minister began with his an update on the numbers of people who had received vaccination. He said that to date 126,000 had received their first dose with an average of 10,000 people a day being vaccinated.
He said that Wales had its first local pharmacy vaccinating in North Wales with the possibility of dentists and optometrists joining the small army involved in vaccinating.
The First Minister said that with a huge effort 28 mass vaccination centres are now open with 45 planned. He said that supply of the vaccine should increase in the next week and thanked the NHS for their round the clock work.
For the first time in a while Mr Drakeford said that there were encouraging signs of stabilisation in Wales with cases dropping to 365 per 100,000 in the population.
Although there were still concerns in areas like Wrexham and Flintshire with the new strain more dominant in North Wales, the First Minister said that there were signs that the hard work and sacrifices were paying off.
He did caution that the NHS was still under immense pressure with critical care beds across Wales filling up.
The First Minister paused to remember the people who have died as a result of Covid-19 and said that to date it was over 5,000 people in Wales. They had friends, family and life to live still in front of them he said.
Mr Drakeford focussed on Welsh Government’s efforts to make supermarkets and workplaces safe and to restore confidence in those who had been contacting him claiming that they had fears and had lost confidence in the safety of some workplaces.
The Government will make it a legal requirement for businesses with 5 or more employees to carry out a risk assessment he said adding that it would include areas for ventilation, signs, PPE, face coverings and hand sanitizing facilities.
The First Minister also spoke about the need to double efforts on enforcement to ensure the reckless few did not undermine the work and efforts of the hard working majority.
Scams and fraudsters targeting older, vulnerable people were also on the First Minister’s list for discussion. Tell someone you trust and it is your choice to let someone into your home he cautioned. He also spoke of the sharp contrast in fortunes of Northern Ireland where he said they had the lowest rate cases in Europe some time ago but who now have the rates in the World.
There are signs of improvement across Wales he said, but urged people to carry on and follow the rules were his closing remarks. The path out lies in front he said. I everyone treads that path.
We asked the First Minister two questions.