Three weeks ago, Prime Minister Mark Drakeford warned that if cases did not disappear in Wales, he would introduce Covid passports for hospitality.
After two consecutive three-week reviews where cases were about to go up, the Prime Minister told WalesOnline on 30 October: “We would do things like extend the use of the Covid passport to other options. We will talk to hospitality in these three weeks to prepare them for the fact that if different numbers continue to rise, it may be a necessary measure to use the passport to access hospitality.We hope this will not be what we want the numbers must fall. ”
Fast forward three weeks and there is a very mixed picture. For almost fourteen days, cases fell from a record high of 730 cases per year. 100,000 to 483 six days ago. However, there have now been six days of uninterrupted rises, still significantly below the previous peak, but all in all a worrying direction.
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It’s a very complicated picture. Modeling has for several months suggested that cases in Wales should start to fall at some point, but a combination of school reopening, half-terms and a serious mix-up in a Covid test lab in Wolverhampton, where it was discovered that tens of thousands of people could have received incorrect negative PCR tests, has made the data difficult to interpret.
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On top of that, there is also the hospitalization data, which seems to have stabilized, but which is still very high as we enter a possible flu season.
Also skewed analysis is that there is declining immunity, but also a booster rollout where jabs are extended to people aged 40-49.
So what are the chances that the Prime Minister will bring Covid passports to more options before Christmas?
It’s definitely on the table. The Welsh Government has indicated that the next step to control the virus, if necessary, would be to bring Covid passports to pubs and restaurants that have already introduced them to concert halls and cinemas this week.
When asked about the current situation in Senedd on Tuesday, November 16, Mr Drakeford said: “[Cases] has risen markedly in Scotland in the last week; they have increased very significantly in countries very close to the United Kingdom. So no one should think that we are somehow out of the woods on this yet. The Cabinet will look at the numbers very closely. “
However he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Wales. This week. “
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WalesOnline has approached the Welsh Government and asked what number of cases would cause it to extend the use of the Covid passport.
We asked the following questions:
The Prime Minister has indicated that the criteria for introducing Covid into hospitality continue to rise. Is it fair to say that if cases fall or are stable, Covid passports will not be introduced?
2. If cases fall but hospital admissions increase, would the Welsh Government still bring in Covid passports?
3. Has there been any evidence that Covid passports have already had a positive impact on the rate of infection in Wales?
The only response we received to these questions was a spokesman for the Welsh Government, who said: “We will provide an update at three weeks’ review later this week.”
So what to make of this? Well, Mr Drakeford has previously suggested that it’s about direction of travel. In a previous interview with WalesOnline, he said: “I think the crucial thing is less a specific number than the direction of travel. If the coronavirus continues to rise in Wales, as it has done in the last three reviews, we will reach a point , where its impact on society and on health care is such that further action will be inevitable.
“If we can stabilize and reverse that trend, I would think we can stay where we have been for the last nine weeks with the lowest level of restrictions we have seen since coronavirus began.
“For me, it is not a matter of being able to say whether it is this number up or down. Trend up we are in trouble and other things have to happen. Trend down and we will be able to stay with the level of restrictions that we have managed in the nine weeks. “
When Mr Drakeford was challenged on the effectiveness of the measures by Welsh Conservative Paul Davies, Mr Drakeford replied: “We follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and he supports our position on the Covid Pass.”
In an interview with Wales’ chief physician, Dr. Frank Atherton, asked WalesOnline what the scientific basis was for the submissions.
The CMO did not offer a ringing endorsement, saying one of the biggest benefits of the passport was that it reminded people that Covid existed.
He said: “The evidence is still being built around Covid passports. Lots of other countries around the world have adopted them. Wales also decided to adopt them. The actual direct impact is probably quite small. But there are bigger impacts in terms of messages, that gives and a reminder to people that we are not out of the woods yet, that we really are still at a difficult stage in the pandemic, and that we have to do everything.
“So, that’s probably a small positive benefit of Covid passes. What we need to do when we have such high rates of community transfer is to take everything that gives us more advantage. So face clothing gives us a small advantage, social “Distance provides a greater advantage. Covid passes are likely to provide a small advantage, and we need to put those things together. All of them can help push rates down.”
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