Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament have called on the First Minister to prioritise and protect the most vulnerable in society as Wales prepares for the next stage in the fight against Coronavirus.
In a proposed package of Covid-19 support measures, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Andrew RT Davies MS, has called for the immediate resumption of the “shielding” process for people who have one of a very specific list of pre-existing and long-term serious health conditions as previously identified by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales.
Alongside the resumption of shielding, Mr Davies has also called on the Welsh Labour-led Government to introduce a Winter Protection Plan to support those most at risk and to explore the following proposals this winter:
- New food box scheme for the 130,000 on the shielding list
- Urgent financial package of support for those shielding who are unable to work
- Priority testing for carers
- Work with retailers to introduce a dedicated two-hour supermarket shopping slot for those at risk, over 70, or both
- Secure priority service from energy suppliers like the previous agreements with supermarket retailers
- A physical and mental well-being guarantee from the Welsh Government ensuring that people can leave their homes for exercise, and a commitment the ‘bubble’ and extended household rule will be maintained.
- Explore leisure, community, and entertainment measures such as socially distanced age-controlled cinema shows
- A public information campaign reinforcing the importance of “hands, face and space” and that primary care will remain open
Commenting, Mr Davies said:
“We have to do everything in our power to avoid another national lockdown and so as we enter the next stage of the fight against Coronavirus, the Welsh Labour Government should immediately resume the shielding process.
“Ministers have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in society and with concerns over the current trajectory of the virus, it’s only right that we place a protective ring around those most at risk.
“Shielding is not an easy or painless process, and key lessons regarding the risk of loneliness and isolation should have been learnt by Labour Ministers during the first wave.
“Alongside the shielding process, Welsh Conservatives want to see a ‘physical and mental well-being guarantee’ introduced by the Labour Government to ensure people can leave their homes for exercise and a commitment from ministers that the ‘bubble’ and extended household rule will be maintained.
“We believe it is imperative the Welsh Labour-led Government now prioritises a protection plan that includes a number of financial, leisure, and emotional supportive measures for those most at risk, rather than seeking to shutdown large elements of the economy in Wales.”