IN A briefing made a short time ago, First Minister Mark Drakeford spoke of the 'astonishing' number of volunteers who had come forward to help supplement the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Drakeford said that there had been an "astonishing, spontaneous groundswell of those offering their services".

"Volunteering in Wales is just part of the way we do things," he said.

Mr Drakeford also made several calls for the UK Government to make a decision regarding closing building sites across the country. However, he pointed out that there would of course be important exceptions.

"The reason for doing this is to save lives," he said.

"I feel there is a case to close construction sites. I don't want people exposing themselves simply by going to work.

"However, we don't want work to repair damage from the recent floods to come to a halt."

He said that a decision on the matter could be expected "within the next 24 to 36 hours".


He spoke of the financial support already afforded to the homeless community in Wales (£10m) and those with children who receive free school meals (£7m), but also called further on the UK Government to put similar measures in place for those who are self-employed.

"The real answer remains in the hands of the UK Government," he said.

"They must match for the self-employed, what they have set out for those in employment."

Those in the groups most vulnerable to coronavirus will receive a letter in the coming days, outlined Mr Drakeford.

The more than 100,000 individuals will receive information that they are to remain in their homes longer than other groups - for 12-16 weeks.

""The letter will outline the support available to them throughout this period," added Mr Drakeford.

Asked about a potential lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available to NHS workers, Mr Drakeford said: ""It's our job to minimise those risks.

"PPE is part of that.

"I'm afraid it was inevitable for there to have been gaps here and there. However, there is PPE in the system for those who need it.

"We want to make sure people have the right equipment for their job. We're doing everything we can to make sure of that."

He also stated that the Welsh Government would be looking to ramp up their procurement and development of ventilators.