By Ben Kerrigan-
Confused Wales First Minister, has failed to justify his attack on Uk prime minister Boris Johnson’s calm stance on restrictions in the Uk.
Accusing Johnson of failing to protect England, Drakeford said England was the “outlier” in the UK when it came to Covid, because Johnson had failed to pursue stricter measures of restrictions. but Wales is yet to justify the facts underpinning its own restrictions.
However, the Welsh government has been unable to justify its attack on Boris Johnson, by providing evidence of a genuine increase in its hospitalisation rates after it emerged that hospitals in the Uk had been exaggerating its figures without reflecting the primary reason patients who tested positive for Covid were initially admitted to hospital.
When presented with evidence that an increase of patients with confirmed Covid in hospital beds was said by NHS bosses to include “a lot” of “incidental” Covid patients, who are in hospital for non-Covid reasons but test positive for Covid, Mr. Drakeford was not substantively responsive.
Mr Drakeford said this “doesn’t make any difference to the hospitals” as they must still “treat every one of those patients as a coronavirus patient”. But they are not coronavirus patients, they are mainly patients of the other illness that brought them to hospital. Coronavirus only plays the proportion of influence it has on each individual patient case.
The decision to limit outdoor gatherings, including organised exercise groups, has previously been criticised by the UK health minister, and there have been concerns that hospitality rules could see people head across the border to England to socialize. Public Health Wales has reported 7,915 new Covid cases and 21 further deaths..
The First Minister of Wales’s comments came as the latest Covid figures show there are more than 2,300 cases per 100,000 people across Wales currently. Drakeford also announced that 1.7 million people had received a Covid-19 vaccine booster in Wales.
“We can take some comfort from the fact this form of the virus may not be as severe as we had initially feared”, Mr Drakeford said.
“We have already seen extremely high levels of infections in the community since Christmas and we must be prepared for cases to rise even higher in the coming weeks – just as they have elsewhere in the UK.
“But the speed at which it is travelling and its infectiousness continue to be cause for concern.”
The Welsh government has carefully stuck to advise from SAGE suggesting a rise in the number of Omicron infections, with a doubling time of 3-5 days (high confidence). Advise from Sage highlights evidence of community transmission with predictions of doom directed at hospital admissions from Omicron should be expected to follow soon.
Several different neutralisation studies containing experimental data have been made public, all confirming that antibody neutralization against Omicron infection from vaccines or natural infection is reduced to a greater extent than any previous variant of concern.
In defense of its tighter restrictions in Wales, Mr Drakeford criticised Mr Johnson’s approach, saying: “Wales is taking action as is Scotland, as is Northern Ireland and are countries right across Europe and right across the globe.
“In England, we have a government that is politically paralysed with a prime minister is unable to secure an agreement through his cabinet to take the actions that his advisors have been telling him ought to be taken.”
Mr Drakeford said the peak of the Omicron wave was likely to be “about 10 to 14 days away”, and insisted those calling for Covid restrictions to be eased were “factually wrong”. Actually, the first prime minister is the one factually wrong.
The comments came after a senior epidemiologist, who has advised the Welsh and UK governments, called for restrictions to be dropped to pre-Omicron levels.
Due to “astronomically high” positivity rates, Drakeford said: “We have a tough few weeks ahead and we are not in a position to withdraw any of the protections,” he added.
In Wales nightclubs are closed, with limits on hospitality businesses, sporting events and who people can meet indoors and outdoors.
The decision to limit outdoor gatherings, including organised exercise groups, has previously been criticised by the UK health minister, and there have been concerns that hospitality rules could see people head across the border to England to socialize. Public Health Wales has reported 7,915 new Covid cases and 21 further deaths.
An increase of patients with confirmed Covid in hospital beds was said by NHS bosses to include “a lot” of “incidental” Covid patients, who are in hospital for non-Covid reasons but test positive for Covid.
However, Mr Drakeford said this “doesn’t make any difference to the hospitals” as they must still “treat every one of those patients as a coronavirus patient”.
Speaking at Friday’s Welsh government Covid press conference, the first minister said it would not be right to say the Welsh NHS is “being overwhelmed” but it is “certainly facing very challenging circumstances”.
He said Omicron was “driving more people to fall ill and then to need hospital treatment” and also making more health staff ill. His comments here are ludicrous after he admitted having to treat patients who had been admitted to hospital for other reasons as coronavirus patients.
The First prime Minister certainly doesn’t come first when it comes to consistency of thought and integrity of deed.
Drakeford’s efforts to keep the Welsh people safe is not based on hospitalisation or death rates, but rather infections rates, given the transmissibiity of the omicron variant.