Four nations must plan a UK-wide approach for Christmas, urges Welsh leader

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The UK must plan a path to Christmas amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh leader has urged, as he called on the government to make good on its promise for the four nations to meet and discuss a single approach.

First minister Mark Drakeford said cabinet office minister Michael Gove had promised a four-nation meeting this coming week so that country leaders can “pool ideas, plan together and have a common approach to the Christmas period”.

His comments come as Wales prepares to come out of a 17-day firebreak lockdown on Monday, while England continues in its month-long lockdown which ends at the start of December.

“I really hope that meeting materialises,” Mr Drakeford told Sky NewsSophie Ridge On Sunday.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
(PA Graphics)

On whether he wanted to see families reunite over Christmas, he said: “The restrictions people have had to live with are incredibly difficult and demanding, and everybody is tried and fatigued of coronavirus. If we can offer respite over Christmas that is what we would want to do.”

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He added: “The only way to do that is for us to have that opportunity to meet and talk together.

“I really hope the UK government is serious about this and make certain that those opportunities exist for us all.”

Meanwhile, foreign secretary Dominic Raab has responded to the government amending a slide which showed there could be up to 4,000 deaths a day linked to coronavirus by next month.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, statistician and chairman of the Winton Centre for risk and evidence communication at the University of Cambridge, had previously described the data which was shared with the public to justify a second lockdown in England as a “mess”.

Asked whether the government is presenting “the scariest data” on Covid-19, Mr Raab told Sky: “No, look, we showed models which show what could happen if certain scenarios play out.

“We corrected the slide you referred to and it was the wealth of scientific information that comes forward… we tried to be as transparent as possible.”

He added that “mistakes are made or facts have to be changed, but that is the point of transparency”.

On banning foreign visitors from Denmark from entering the UK, Mr Raab was confident it was the right step and described it as a “common sense measure”.

Denmark was removed from the government’s list of travel corridors due to widespread outbreaks of Covid-19 in its mink farms.

It led to the government announcing a ban on foreign visitors from the country.

Mr Raab said: “Although it is a precautionary step, I think it is the right step whilst we engage with all of the health experts around the world, with the Danish authorities, and be clear about what has happened in Denmark, in particular in relation to the minks.”

From 4am on Saturday, all non-British national or resident travellers who have been in or transited through Denmark in the last 14 days are not allowed to enter the UK.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I wouldn’t describe it as draconian taking a precautionary measure to make sure that if and when we come up with a vaccine it can’t be sidestepped by a mutation in the virus which the Danes have found through their mink population.

“I think that is a common sense measure the public would expect us to take. I spoke to my Danish opposite number on Friday about it.”

Elsewhere, news has emerged of senior government figures including Mr Gove and health secretary Matt Hancock being made to surrender their phones as part of a “chatty rat” inquiry.

The MailOnline reported the government is seeking to find the source of a leak of secret briefings which forced the Prime Minister to announce England’s second lockdown earlier than planned.

A further 413 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, according to government figures.

There were also a further 24,957 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK as of 9am on Saturday.

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