Welsh health minister contradicts Boris Johnson on second lockdown
In the latest sign of a growing divergence between London and the UK’s devolved governments, the Welsh health minister has claimed he would “not be afraid” of a new coronavirus lockdown in the event of a rise in COVID-19 infections.
Vaughan Gething voiced concern about a resurgent coronavirus in the autumn, arguing that measures might have to be taken to manage the risk.
Gething’s intervention comes on the heels of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence on avoiding a second lockdown in the autumn or winter.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Telegraph (July 19), the PM was adamant that the UK would not need “another national lockdown”.
However, because the lockdown is effectively a public health measure, it is up to devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to apply their own standards in relation to coronavirus-related restrictions.
By law, the PM can only decide on lockdown measures (or lack thereof) in England alone.
For his part, Gething claimed he is not afraid “to make a decision with the first minister and the Welsh Government to lockdown, if we thought that was the right thing to do to save lives”.
“There’s a danger that we have too optimistic an outlook, as if everything will be fine, when the risks are still here today, and we need to manage those risks as we go into the autumn, and winter in particular”, Gething added.
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