THE first minister has maintained that the firebreak period in Wales was a success, despite the introduction of new restrictions across the country next week.

Mark Drakeford said that the firebreak was “successful”, but that coronavirus had returned faster than anticipated.

Speaking at the Welsh Government briefing this afternoon, the first minister announced tighter restrictions for the hospitality sector in Wales and the closure of indoor entertainment as coronavirus rates across the country continue to rise.

However, Mr Drakeford said: “The advice and figures we have show the firebreak did what we wanted, and perhaps was even more effective than we had hoped.

“In the post-firebreak period, as people have mixed, it has come back faster than we anticipated.

“This doesn’t rule out a firebreak in the future. We benefitted hugely from the firebreak and we now have to do a little bit more.”


Asked if restrictions were relaxed too quickly following the firebreak, he accepted that stricter restrictions “might have made a difference”.

Mr Drakeford said: “The firebreak was successful; it is how things have happened afterwards which has led to this.

“Had we had stricter restrictions, that might have made a difference. That is very certainly an arguable position.

“The choice we face over Christmas was between a heavily restricted period or a relaxed period. If we had gone with a heavily restricted Christmas, it would not have been observed.”

The first minister went on to say that a pre-Christmas firebreak would be less likely as a result of the new restrictions announced.

He added: “It is the things that we do in our daily lives which will make the biggest difference.”