MARK Drakeford today addressed why the Welsh Government had moved away from introducing localised lockdowns in the worst affected areas of Wales.

It came as the first minister announced there would be no changes to the post-firebreak national restrictions for the next two weeks - when they will next be reviewed.

With Wales' 'R number' last measured at between 0.9 and 1.2, Mr Drakeford said there was "no room" for Wales to loosen its restrictions on a national level.


"We have always said that the real and lasting impact of the firebreak would depend on how we all act once that period was over," said Mr Drakeford. "And here, I'm afraid, the news is more mixed.

"Most people in Wales go on sticking with it, doing whatever they can to help turn back this deadly virus, but this is not universally the case.

"I receive letters and emails every day from people all over Wales worried about how others are socialising in large numbers or gathering in their homes.

"Our police forces have reported, in the post-firebreak period, they have had to respond to more than 1,000 coronavirus-related incidents, where the behaviour of a selfish minority is putting everybody else at risk."

Mr Drakeford referenced "new strict restrictions" being introduced in Northern Ireland and areas of Scotland, adding "this is exactly what we are trying to avoid here in Wales."

"It's against that background that the cabinet this week reviewed the national measures we have put in place in the post-firebreak period, and we have decided not to change them," he said.

"There is no room for a further relaxation of those measures, and they will remain the same for the next two weeks.

"We need everyone, every single one of us, to play our part to make sure we continue to build on the progress of the firebreak, and to keep those coronavirus cases falling."

When asked about why the Welsh Government had moved away from the strategy of implementing local lockdowns, Mr Drakeford said it was a "trade off" in order to provide a clear and consistent message to everyone in Wales, meaning - in theory - more people would understand and follow the rules.

"We have been drawing more on the advice of behavioural scientists alongside others in recent weeks, and the advice we had was very straight forward: that the more complex rules are, even for people who really want to follow the rules, the harder it is for them to know what the rules are and the more difficult it is for them to follow them," he said.

"A simpler set of common rules had a better chance of people being able to understand them and then do the right thing by them, and that the different local restrictions that had grown up over the autumn were causing people to feel that they didn't know what was being asked of them and therefore that they didn't always do what was necessary.

"There is always a trade here. It's a trade off between simplicity, clarity and therefore the ability of people to follow the rules, as against more precise, more targeted but inevitably more complex and difficult to follow restrictions."