BBC Breakfast: Naga Munchetty interrupts Mark Drakeford
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Munchetty, 46, was on hand to host BBC Breakfast with Charlie Stayt, 58, and the prominent story dominating the show was the increase in cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus. With Wales easing their lockdown restrictions further on Monday June 7, 2021, the presenters were joined by Mr Drakeford, 66, to discuss the motion. However, the BBC journalist decided to ask the First Minister if he was worried about the new variant impacting his plan for brining social distancing measures to an end but when he tried to deflect from his response, the broadcaster cut him off.
The moment came when the journalist asked the politician why Wales was being more cautious about ending lockdown in the country.
Drakeford replied: “We’ve always taken in Wales a careful, cautious step-by-step approach lifting restrictions when we think it’s safe to do so.
“But not putting at risk all the things we’ve done to achieve together for the last few months. We’re in a good position in Wales today.
“Our rates are the lowest in the United Kingdom and out vaccination rates are the highest in the world,” he said before addressing the Indian variant.
“But, across our border, the Delta [Indian variant] variant is spreading very quickly. We know it is more transmissible.”
“There are signs that it might create more people needing hospital treatment as a result. We will wait to see further evidence,” Drakeford continued.
“Provided things are good, we will move ahead but we’re not going to take risks that would mean that the very good position we’re in today could be rapidly undermined.”
Munchetty asked: “Do you think what’s happening in England is going to undermine your efforts to ease restrictions?”
The First Minister replied: “Well, it’s not for me to make decisions that are the responsibility of others.”
Apologises for interrupting
As he tried to continue with his answer, Munchetty cut him off as she said: “Absolutely and apologises for interrupting.
“Absolutely it’s not your place to make decisions for England but you will be observing what’s happening in England.
“And I’m thinking, particularly, the North-West where the hot spots are. You’re seeing what the UK Government is doing and how’s that affecting England.
“And your responsibility is to make sure it doesn’t effect the citizens in Wales. Do you think what’s happening in England is going to disproportionately and negatively impact on Wales?” she asked.
The First Minister replied: “We have to be realistic. The fact that the Delta variant is now spreading do quickly in the North-West of England will mean it will cross the border into Wales.
“The variant doesn’t see the border and the amount of traffic that goes back and forth between the North-East of Wales and North-West of England is very high everyday.
“So, there is a very realistic prospect that we will see that variant spreading into Wales. That is why we are delaying some of the measures we might otherwise take to maximise the amount of vaccinations we can carry out.
“That is our best defence against the new variant and I’m quite sure in England, too, huge efforts are being made to offer vaccinations to more people and to build up those defences.”
“In that sense, we are all trying to do the right thing together,” Drakeford told the hosts of the programme.
The new rules in Wales, that come into force on Monday, include extending household bubbles to include a third and up to 30 people can meet outside.
However, the idea of meeting up indoors and larger events will not be able to happen until at least the end of June.
There are currently 97 cases of the Indian variant in circulation in Wales and this is why the First Minister is more cautious to ease restrictions so the number stays under control.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.
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