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Present

  • Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS (Chair)
  • Rebecca Evans MS
  • Vaughan Gething MS
  • Lesley Griffiths MS
  • Julie James MS
  • Eluned Morgan MS
  • Ken Skates MS
  • Kirsty Williams MS
  • Jeremy Miles MS
  • Hannah Blythyn MS
  • Jane Hutt MS
  • Julie Morgan MS
  • Dafydd Elis Thomas MS
  • Lee Waters MS

Officials

  • Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
  • Des Clifford, Director General Office of the First Minister
  • Will Whiteley, Head of Cabinet Division
  • Toby Mason, Head of Strategic Communications
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
  • Madeleine Brindley, Special Adviser
  • Alex Bevan, Special Adviser
  • Ian Butler, Special Adviser
  • Kate Edmunds, Special Adviser
  • Sarah Faye, Special Adviser
  • Paul Griffiths, Special Adviser
  • Clare Jenkins, Special Adviser
  • Andrew Johnson, Special Adviser
  • Gareth Williams, Special Adviser
  • Mitch Theaker, Special Adviser
  • Tom Woodward, Special Adviser
  • Christopher W Morgan, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat
  • Jonathan Scourfield, Specialist Policy Adviser
  • Dewi Knight, Specialist Adviser for Education Reform
  • Tracey Burke, Director General, Education and Public Services
  • Andrew Goodall, Director General, Health
  • Andrew Slade, Director General ESNR
  • Frank Atherton, CMO
  • Simon Brindle, Director Recovery and Restart  
  • Reg Kilpatrick, Director Local Government
  • Tom Smithson, Restart Coordination  
  • Helen Lentle, Director Legal Services
  • Dylan Hughes. First Legislative Counsel
  • Terry Kowal, Senior Legislative Counsel
  • Neil Buffin, Senior Lawyer
  • Chrishan Kamalan COVID-19 response team

Item 1: Three week review of Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations – Update from the CMO

  1. The focus of the Cabinet meeting was the latest 21 day review of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations and other lockdown measures. In accordance with the Regulations, the imposition or continuation of a requirement or restriction had to satisfy three conditions. 
  1. The Regulations were for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence, spread of infection or contamination. There must be a threat to public health and the restrictions had to be proportionate in what they were intending to achieve.
  1. The First Minister invited the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to provide an update on virus transmission rates.
  1. There had been a significant increase in new cases since the last review of the Regulations, with 398 being reported the previous day. There were now four to five contacts per case, which was a significant increase from one to two three weeks ago, demonstrating that people were mixing more. 
  1. University towns, such as Aberystwyth and Swansea, appeared to be hotspots. However, there had been behavioural change amongst the general public, particularly in relation to people returning from abroad and households mixing. Infections within hospitals were also increasing. The virus was now present in all parts of Wales and the spread across the north east was similar to that in the south. 
  1. More people over the age of 60 were contracting the virus leading to an increase in the number of cases in hospital intensive care beds. The number of people in hospital beds with or suspected to have the virus had increased from 168 at the previous review to 366. It was inevitable that the number of Covid-19 deaths would rise. 
  1. One positive note was that even with the significant increase in contacts being traced through TTP, the success rate remained high at 86%.  It also appeared that Lighthouse Labs testing had improved slightly since the previous week.  
  1. Nevertheless, particularly with the introduction of Local Health Protection Areas (LHPAs), there was very little scope to relax any further measures.

Item 2: Three week review of Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations – review of lockdown restrictions

  1. Cabinet agreed that, given the deteriorating public health situation and the numerous local restrictions in place in Wales, the Government should not be lifting restrictions at a national level, such as concert halls, theatres, nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues. 
  1. It was recommended that organised indoor activities for up to fifteen adults within open premises should be allowed. This would be subject to the relevant risk assessments, with the onus on the organiser to take all reasonable precautions.
  1. The public health advice was that it was a lot safer to undertake group activities within well ventilated and controlled areas, but clearly house parties and similar forms of entertainment did not fall into this category.   
  1. It was agreed that there would be a need to give further consideration to the legal issues surrounding the proposals.
  1. Ministers accepted that the imposition of earlier closing time on licensed premises could lead to an increasing number of house parties, which would be in breach of the Regulations due to the increased risk of spreading the virus. Organisers and participants could be issued with Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) of £60, but there was a concern that such a low fine and no criminal record would not be enough of a deterrent.
  1. The First Minister would set out clearly at the press conference the following day that house parties were illegal and the Government was working on penalties for people who arranged and attended such gatherings.
  1. Ministers discussed proposals to mitigate loneliness and isolation for those living alone in Local Health Protection Areas, and agreed to allow single adult households, including single parents, within these areas to form a ‘bubble’ with another household.