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Covid-19 pandemic over – but could return, warns Drakeford

THE UK’s coronavirus pandemic is over for now but there is no guarantee the situation will not worsen again, according to Wales’ First Minister.

Mark Drakeford said he agreed with reported comments from the Covid Infection Survey’s chief investigator, who said the UK had moved to an “endemic” situation thanks to the success of the vaccination programme.

Asked if he agreed the pandemic was over at the Welsh Government’s press briefing on Friday, Mr Drakeford said: “By its definition we’re no longer at this moment in a pandemic. 

“I continue, as I feel I must, just sound a warning sign that this is not a one-way street. The fact that things aren’t getting better does not mean that it inevitably goes on getting better.

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“We’ve just seen in recent weeks how fast things went from being in a good position to a very difficult position in France, in Italy, in Germany.

“Of course we are working very hard to make sure that the current progress is not reversed in Wales.

“But there’s no guarantee that unless we carry on doing things carefully, cautiously, step by step, and with the help of the whole Welsh population, that that is bound to be the position.”

Mr Drakeford said that for Covid to remain an endemic condition, like the flu, would still require a vaccination programme in the autumn of this year so booster jabs can be given to those already vaccinated.

“An endemic disease is still a disease, and it will still require action by government, by the health service, and each and every one of us in our own lives to make sure that the endemic condition doesn’t become one that loses lives and puts services at risk,” he added.

The World Health Organisation defines a pandemic as “the worldwide spread of a new disease”, while it defines an epidemic as “the occurrence in a community or region of cases of an illness, specific health-related behaviour, or other health-related events clearly in excess of normal expectancy”.

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