The Member of the Senedd for the Rhondda has called for clinically vulnerable people in Wales to be afforded the same protection as those in England.
As Wales prepares to go under a new set of coronavirus restrictions, Leanne Wood MS urged the Labour Government in Wales to stand up for people who might be fearful of returning to work and exposing themselves to harm.
The calls came as it was revealed that Rhondda Cynon Taf has a Covid-19 infection rate of 556 per 100,000 people. This compares with a rate of 350 per 100,000 for Liverpool which is placed in the highest tier possible under the system operating in England. To compound matters, all ICU beds at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital – which is the main district general hospital serving the Rhondda – are full.
Whilst the Westminster Government has said the clinically vulnerable and anyone over 60 should not go to work if they cannot work from home, the advice from the Welsh Government is not as strong. In its latest guidance published on November 5th, the Welsh Government say: ‘We encourage employers and workers to always come together to resolve issues.’
Ms Wood, who raised this matter with the First Minister in plenary this week, said this is not good enough. She said people are now facing a difficult situation.
“The Welsh Government have been weak on advice concerning the clinically vulnerable and work,” said Ms Wood. “Their stance is not cutting it with people who face a difficult choice between shielding or being plunged into poverty. Or as a constituent put it: ‘it’s either shield and have no support financially, or work and face long term complications with our health or even death.’
“This is a particular concern in the Rhondda where we have high transmission rates and local health services are badly stretched.”
Afterwards, she added: “I urged the First Minister to correct the anomaly between Wales and England during in the Senedd this week. People who are clinically vulnerable should not have to face the dilemmas they face. They deserve our full support and I call upon the Labour Government in Wales to do the right thing by them.”
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