- Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford MS (Chair)
- Rebecca Evans MS
- Vaughan Gething MS
- Lesley Griffiths MS
- Jane Hutt MS
- Julie James MS
- Jeremy Miles MS
- Eluned Morgan MS
- Mick Antoniw MS
- Dawn Bowden MS
- Hannah Blythyn MS
- Julie Morgan MS
- Lynne Neagle MS
- Lee Waters MS
- Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
- Des Clifford, Director General Office of the First Minister
- Will Whiteley, Deputy Director Cabinet Division
- Toby Mason, Strategic Communications
- Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
- Madeleine Brindley, Special Adviser
- Alex Bevan, Special Adviser
- Daniel Butler, Special Adviser
- Ian Butler, Special Adviser
- Kate Edmunds, Special Adviser
- Sara Faye, Special Adviser
- Clare Jenkins, Special Adviser
- Andrew Johnson, Special Adviser
- Tom Woodward, Special Adviser
- Catrin Sully, Cabinet Office
- Christopher W Morgan, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
- Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat
- Tracey Burke, Director General, Education and Public Services
- Andrew Goodall, Director General, Health
- Reg Kilpatrick, Director General, COVID-19 Crisis Coordination
- Andrew Slade, Director General, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources
- Chris Jones, Deputy CMO
- Rob Orford, Chief Scientific Adviser Health
- Liz Lalley, Deputy Director Recovery
- Tom Smithson, COVID-19 Restart
- Helen Lentle, Director Legal Services
- Dylan Hughes, First Legislative Counsel
- Neil Buffin, Senior Lawyer
Item 1: Review of Coronavirus Restrictions (No. 5) Regulations – 7 October 2021
1.1 The First Minister introduced the paper, which sought a steer on the current review period of the Coronavirus Restrictions (No. 5) Regulations.
1.2 Ministers were reminded that the restrictions relating to COVID-19 within the Coronavirus Control Plan 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.
1.3 The First Minister invited the Deputy Chief Medical Officer to provide an overview of the current public health situation.
1.4 Of the 4 nations, Wales now had the highest infection rate. However, data gathered over the weekend suggested that the 7 day average had now reduced from 650 in every 100,000 of the population, as reported on Friday, to 559. This was encouraging but it was too early to suggest that it may be a trend. The highest rate of infection was amongst the under 25s, where cases were around 1,000 in every 100,000, whereas infection rates in the over 60s were stable with 205 cases in every 100,000 being reported.
1.5 The Chief Executive of the NHS informed ministers that that there had been improvements within the Health Service and the number of COVID-19 related patients occupying hospital beds had reduced to 600. There had also been corresponding reductions in confirmed cases and those in critical care units. All health boards were below the current operational modelling for the pandemic.
1.6 Preparatory work was underway for the roll-out of a compulsory COVID-pass for entry to high risk venues and Ministers agreed that people should be encouraged to get their passes as soon as possible to avoid any similar technical issues reported with the introduction of Vaccine Passports in Scotland. The regulations that would introduce the COVID-Pass would be debated in the Senedd the following day.
1.7 Given the overall public health situation, Cabinet agreed the current Alert Level 0 requirements should be retained for the current review period.
1.8 Ministers noted the implications of the UK government’s job retention scheme closing and the impact this, along with the withdrawal of the Universal Credit uplift, would have on families in Wales. This would deepen inequalities, have a particular bearing on the vulnerable in society while having an impact on people’s mental health.
1.9 Included with the papers was the latest draft of the Coronavirus Control Plan, which set out how the government would respond to COVID-19 over the Autumn and Winter months. It was proposed that, subject to the views of ministers, the updated plan would be shared with trusted partners in advance of publication scheduled for the end of the week.
1.10 The revised Control Plan was designed to complement the more detailed NHS and Social Care Winter Plan and the work being taken forward on responding to winter respiratory illnesses.
1.11 Ministers would have until close the following day to provide any further comments on the revised Control Plan. The changes would be presented to Ministers at the 9am call on Thursday alongside the latest advice in respect of TTP.
1.12 Cabinet agreed officials should proceed in-line with the decisions made by ministers.