Two-week lockdown in Wales from Friday as UK cases surge

The Wales government announced a two-week ‘short, sharp’ lockdown from Friday to break the cycle of transmission of Covid-19, as the number of new cases continued to surge in the UK and other European countries.

Calling it a ‘firebreak’, first minister of the Labour-led Welsh government, Mark Drakeford, announced on Monday that for the two weeks, everyone will need to stay at home.

All businesses will be shut. The only exceptions would be workers engaged in critical services.

As of Sunday evening, the UK recorded 16,982 new cases–more thrice the daily peaks in April and May–and 67 deaths. Overall, there have been 57,690 deaths and 722,049 cases in the country.

Calling the lockdown a ‘short sharp shock’, Drakeford said: “There no easy choice in front of us as the virus spreads rapidly in every part of Wales. If we do not act now, it will continue to accelerate. Most starkly of all, even more people will die from this deadly virus.”

Wales has already banned people from parts of England currently in Tier 2 and Tier 3 alert levels from entering. Liverpool and areas around Leicester are currently under the highest Tier 3 alert level, with Greater Manchester expected to follow due to surge in new cases.

Manchester mayor, Labour politician Andy Burnham, has resisted attempts by the central government in London to place the area under Tier 3, which would involve closing businesses and adding to the economic woes of the region. He has demanded more financial support.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said on the Manchester impasse: “Delay I’m afraid will only make the situation worse, will only put people’s lives at risk, and will only make the economic fallout for the city worse in the long term.”

“We do now need to take action. I hope that we can reach agreement but one way or another, we need to draw this to a conclusion,” he added, days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he may need to intervene if local leaders did not agree to Tier 3.

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