Backlash over 'cruel' 5-mile travel guidance for Wales

29 May 2020, 14:55

People exercise and rest on the beach in hot weather in Barry Island, Wales
People exercise and rest on the beach in hot weather in Barry Island, Wales. Picture: PA
Daniel Bevan

By Daniel Bevan

The Welsh Conservatives have labelled the country's new lockdown rules as ‘cruel’ after travel in the country was restricted to just five miles to see family and friends.

Wales's First Minister Mark Drakeford defended the policy, saying people can use their common sense when interpreting the guidelines.

Darren Millar, the Conservative Member of the Senedd for Clwyd West, told LBC: “The 5-mile rule the Welsh Government are planning to introduce, regarding families being able to get together, is just plain cruel.

“It only suits families living in the same urban centre and there are grandparents, parents and children who don’t.

“They will be desperate to be re-united but won’t be allowed to.”

Responding to the claims at today’s Welsh Government daily briefing, Mr Drakeford told LBC: “It is the virus that is cruel, it is a virus that has killed over 1,000 people in Wales.

“It’s the virus that continues to add to that desperately sad death toll every single day. That’s why we are bearing down on the virus in the way that we are.

“That’s why I have real confidence based on the way people in Wales have responded to the lockdown measures, that people will go on being sensible and cautious, and thinking of other people's well-being as well as their own.”

Mark Drakeford defended the policy, saying people can use their common sense
Mark Drakeford defended the policy, saying people can use their common sense. Picture: PA

From Monday, people in Wales will be allowed to see family and friends from different households for the first time since lockdown began.

In a statement, the First Minister said: “We know people have missed seeing their families and friends over the last three months while the stay-at-home regulations have been in place.

“From Monday, people from two different households in the same local area will be able to meet up outdoors. They must continue to maintain social distancing and strict hand hygiene.

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“We are also asking people to stay local – by local we mean, as a general rule, not travelling more than five miles from home to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading as people begin to travel more. There will be exceptions – for example, travelling to work, to seek care and shopping for essentials if they aren’t available locally.

“Staying local will help keep Wales safe.”

The message in Wales this weekend remains to be “stay home and save lives”.