Guidance to be issued to people ahead of Christmas period, Wales’s Health Minister says

By Claire Hayhurst, PA
·2-min read

Guidance will be issued to people ahead of Christmas on how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe, Wales’s Health Minister has said.

Vaughan Gething said the Welsh Government would like to see “common travel arrangements and common expectations” across the UK for the festive period.

He told a press conference in Cardiff that the biggest risk for any “change in a position around Christmas” was whether coronavirus took off again.

Mr Gething said it was a “challenge” to understand how the UK’s coronavirus situation could look around that time, with people needing time to “plan ahead” for it.

Weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases in Wales.
(PA Graphics)

“Lots of people want to move around so travel arrangements across the UK are a big factor,” Mr Gething said.

“We’d like, if possible, to have common travel arrangements and common expectations.

“We’re also going to look to give people some guidance that if they want to spend time with people they haven’t seen for some time, to think ahead of how they keep themselves and those people safe.

“We’ll be looking at whether we can do things about the numbers of people who meet indoors together because often – whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious event or not – it’s still a time of the year when people want to gather together and it’s often more difficult to do so outdoors than in.

“We’re looking at a range of those things to try to come up with the most common route possible, to give people some advice and some guidance on how to keep them and their loved ones safe, and we’ll look to do that genuinely and positively on as consistent a basis as possible within the four nations of the UK.”

Mr Gething said more details would be given “over the coming weeks” as discussions continued.

On Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said his team had been contacted by Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office to arrange a meeting in the upcoming days.

This meeting was due to discuss a “common approach to Christmas” among the four UK nations, Mr Drakeford said.

Mr Drakeford said the UK Government had suggested there would now be weekly engagements with the four nations, which would result in the “regular, reliable rhythm” of contact that the Welsh Government had been calling for.

“I think it is good news that the first topic of discussion will be a common plan for Christmas because I very firmly believe that this is one of those areas where having an approach that is adopted across the United Kingdom is the right way to be able to offer hope to people here in Wales and elsewhere that we are are able to plan purposefully together for the season,” Mr Drakeford said.