A THIRD wave of coronavirus during the summer is “likely” but will not necessarily see restrictions reimposed in response, the first minister has said.

Mark Drakeford said he is “hopeful” that a spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the return of freedoms will be mitigated by the country’s vaccination programme and better understanding of the virus.

Mr Drakeford said: “The modelling does show a third spike is likely to happen in the summer.

“But there’s a tension there. If it happens in the summer, in some ways that makes it more manageable.


“On the other hand, every week we can push it back is another week where we vaccinate people and that might make that wave a smaller one and less steep.

“In a way, governments are not in control of where those waves come. I am hopeful that, when we see a further wave, it will not be of the sort that will need us to take the sorts of very blunt actions we’ve had to take in the last calendar year.”

As relaxations were relaxed in Wales, Mr Drakeford confirmed that the Indian variant of the virus was present in Wales.

He told journalists there were eight cases of the Indian variant in the country, and said it should give people “pause for thought”.

However, the first minister also 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.

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.”