Wales politics

Coronavirus: Mini lockdowns called for as Covid-19 cases mount

Woman in Caerphilly lockdown Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption Caerphilly went into lockdown last week

Wales should use micro-quarantines to avoid a second national lockdown in the winter, Plaid Cymru has said.

It came before the Welsh Government outlined how it will tackle coronavirus in the NHS during the winter months.

Plaid said small areas could be locked down around clusters where there has been a higher rate of infection, rather than entire council area.

Caerphilly county became the first place in Wales to go into local lockdown last week.

On Tuesday, Wales' Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething published a winter protection plan.

It includes an extra 5,000 NHS beds - half in field hospitals - to cope with winter pressures, including a potential second wave of Covid-19 in hospitals.

Earlier, he warned of the risk of a further national lockdown if members of the public do not better respect social distancing rules.

Welsh Conservative health spokesman Andrew RT Davies said the plan needs to be able to deal with both Covid-19 and the usual winter pressures in health and social care.

"Seeing the minister dismantling one £25m field hospital at the Principality stadium and building a smaller £33m one a few miles away does not fill you with confidence that the ministers plan will achieve this," he added.

Image caption Plaid says people should be encouraged to keep records of their contacts with the help of an app

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price proposed a "10-point coronavirus winter plan", which included "smart-lockdowns" used in countries including Pakistan - with targeted lockdowns including a "local economic package of support".

"If we do not act, then winter could become a second wave that is even worse than the first, with little option than reintroducing a full lockdown," he said.

The party also proposed encouraging everyone to keep contact records, with the support of an app, and testing individuals who have been in contact with people with coronavirus, but do not have symptoms themselves.

Plaid called for quick saliva tests to be implemented, national guidance for face masks in schools, and better use of ventilation.

People should be asked to avoid closed, crowded and close-contact settings, Plaid said, calling for a new Covid-19 plan ahead of a vaccine.

The Welsh Government said: "Our contact tracing system is helping us to quickly identify confirmed cases and routes of transmission to allow us to respond swiftly.

"We have introduced new local restrictions in Caerphilly County Borough Council area in response to the rapid increase in this area and new national restrictions to slow the spread after seeing an overall increase in cases across Wales. Local authorities are also taking targeted local action.

"As the first minister said on Friday, this is a fast-moving situation and we have a small window to act to prevent a fresh coronavirus crisis in Wales. We need the help of everyone in the country to do that."

It later added said: "The new Cardiff facility is designed to last for 20 years and is modular so can be moved to other sites.

"We have carried out a review of the extra bed capacity that will be needed across NHS Wales, using the latest projections and lessons learnt from earlier this year.

"A full plan of the extra capacity for all health boards will be published by the end of this month."

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