Welsh First Minister self-isolating in garden shed during coronavirus pandemic

30 July 2020, 17:19

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford on isolating from his vulnerable family in a hut

By Ewan Somerville

The Welsh First Minister has revealed he has been self-isolating in a garden shed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Drakeford said his wife and mother are shielding due to their underlying health conditions, so he’s been taking extra precautions. 

In an exclusive interview with LBC and Heart, the First Minister said: “It’s very important they are not put at risk becqause of their own health conditions.

"The nature of my job is I am out meeting people all the time and undoubtedly I am a risk to them.

“So since the beginning of this, they have been living in the house. I have been living in the hut at the bottom of the garden.

“We manage the best we can in that way.”

The shed is "very miniature" but "has enough in terms of facilities to be able to get by in", the First Minister added.

READ MORE: Pubs and restaurants in Wales will reopen indoors on Monday, Drakeford confirms

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford explains what's in his socially distanced garden hut

He said he is “bound to worry” that he may catch the virus or infect his shielding family, but added: “I think you’ve got to do the sensible things and take the precautions then carry on. 

“If you are anxious about it all the time, it will get between you and doing the job and I hope it hasn’t done that.”

During the exclusive interview, Mr Drakeford confirmed ahead of his speech on Friday that he is giving the green light for all pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen indoors in Wales from Monday. 

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford on opening indoor hospitality

"We said a couple of weeks ago that, provided everything went according to plan, we would be able to reopen indoor hospitality - cafes, restaurants and so on, on 3 August,” he said. 

“It depended upon the state of the coronavirus. We’ve had the latest checks. We’re confident now that we’ll be able to go ahead. And I’ll be saying tomorrow that indoor hospitality will be opening in Wales from Monday.”

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford on not speaking to Boris Johnson since May

He also revealed that he has not spoken to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson since 28 May. "That’s a while ago now, I’ve spoken more regularly to other UK ministers,” he said, adding he has spoken to Cabinet Office secretary Michael Gove twice this month.

“Meetings with the Prime Minister are relatively rare, and we haven’t had one since 28 May.”

Mr Drakeford also said: 

- People need to “think very carefully” about travelling abroad this summer, and that Public Health Wales is following up those who return from countries such as Spain to ensure they self-isolate.

- He will happily go out for a meal when restaurants reopen on Monday because the social distancing and hygiene measures will make it safe.

- He “never” reads the comments that people, critics and supporters alike, make about him on social media. 

- He urged Brits to consider a staycation in Wales this year: “It’s worth thinking about having a holiday in Wales. That’s what I’ll be doing. There are fantastic places to go on holiday here too.” 

- He added of any future second spike in Wales: “The danger is real and we can all do things now that will help mitigate that risk for the future," adding the Welsh Government will aim to introduce local measures not a national lockdown.