Wales Announces 2-Week 'Fire-Break' Lockdown

Wales Announces 2-Week 'Fire-Break' Lockdown
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford speaks at the Welsh Government building in Cathays Park on Oct. 19, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Simon Veazey
The Welsh government has announced a two-week "fire-break" lockdown to stem the spread of the CCP virus, with all non-essential shops to shut along with all restaurants and pubs as people are told to stay home.

The new measures will come into force at 6 p.m. on Friday.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said that the measures were strictly time-limited and would come to an end on Nov. 9—even if numbers have not come down.

He said that the measures were to "reset the clock and allow us to get through to Christmas".

"People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes, such as for exercise," according to the new measures.

People will be banned from meeting people outside of their household both indoors and outdoors. Public Halloween and bonfire night celebrations will not go ahead.

Holidaymakers from outside Wales will be subject to the same restrictions—essentially banning tourism.

Drakeford said that the break was "a short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus, and buy us more time".

Asked how the measures would be enforced, Drakeford said that public cooperation was essential.

"If we have to rely on the police and enforcement agencies to make a success of his period, we will not succeed," he said. "We succeed by people asking themselves not 'What can I do?' trying to find ways of getting around the rules, but 'What contribution can I make? What part can I play in making this period work for Wales?'"
The school half-term period falls within the fire-break.
All primary schools will reopen after the half-term break, but in secondary schools, only years 7 and 8 will return.
People must work from home during the fire-break, unless they are critical workers. Community centers, libraries, gyms, leisure centres, and hospitality have to close.

Drakeford sought to allay concerns that the lockdown would be extended ad infinitum if there was no apparent downturn in the spread of the virus.

"We know now that we will not see the benefit within the two weeks of the fire-break period. So the period will end on the ninth of November," he said.
He said that he "ruled out" an extension of the measures at the end of the period, but warned that he expected numbers to still be rising when Wales emerges from the fire-break.

The Welsh government has put aside £300 million ($390 million) to help businesses hit by the new restrictions.

The current incident rate for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus in Wales is more than 130 cases per 100,000 population, according to the government.
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.