Wales’ First Minister has said the United Kingdom is “no longer” in a pandemic, but there is no guarantee the public health situation will not worsen again.
Mark Drakeford said he agreed with comments from the Covid Infection Survey’s chief investigator who said the UK had moved to an “endemic” situation due to the success of the vaccination programme.
A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “the worldwide spread of a new disease”, while an endemic infection is restricted to a particular country or area.
But on Friday Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Government’s press briefing that “by its definition, we’re no longer at this moment in a pandemic.”
He said: “I continue, as I feel I must, just sound a warning sign that this is not a one-way street. The fact that things aren’t getting better does not mean that it inevitably goes on getting better.
“We’ve just seen in recent weeks how fast things went from being in a good position to a very difficult position in France, in Italy, in Germany.
“Of course we are working very hard to make sure that the current progress is not reversed in Wales.
“But there’s no guarantee that unless we carry on doing things carefully, cautiously, step by step, and with the help of the whole Welsh population, that that is bound to be the position.”
Mr Drakeford said Covid remaining an endemic condition into the future like the flu would still require a vaccination programme so that booster jabs can be given to those already vaccinated.
“An endemic disease is still a disease, and it will still require action by government, by the health service, and each and every one of us in our own lives to make sure that the endemic condition doesn’t become one that loses lives and puts services at risk,” he added.