Wales' first minister dismisses Boris Johnson's hope of 'normality' by Christmas

Mark Drakeford does not share Boris Johnson's view that things could be back to normal by Christmas. Credit: PA

Wales' first minister has dismissed the prime minister's hope of a 'return to normality' in time for Christmas.

Speaking at a UK Government press conference on the coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson said: "It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November, at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas."

But taking the podium at the Welsh Government's daily briefing shortly afterwards, Mark Drakeford said Mr Johnson's outlook was "pretty optimistic" - as warnings continue over a potential second wave of the virus.

Mr Drakeford was asked by one reporter whether the Welsh Government shares the same hope as the UK Government that things could be back to normal by the end of the year.

In response, Mr Drakeford said: "In relation to the prime minister's view that everything might be back to normal by Christmas, I must say I do think you have to take a pretty sunny view of circumstances to think that that might be true.

"We've just been talking about the Academy of Royal Colleges' report that says we could be in for a worse experience in the winter than we had in the spring, because of the way that this virus circulates and operates.

"While we are able to, we will go on unlocking lockdown measures in Wales and return us to something that looks a bit more like things were before the virus hit.

"Can we be confident that in the depths of winter, we'll still be in a position to go on doing that? Well as I say, I think you have to take a pretty optimistic view of the advice we have had to think that that is a realistic proposition."

First minister dismisses Boris' hopes of normality by Christmas:

The first minister made the remarks at the Welsh Government's last daily press briefing. From now on, updates will take place only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Today it was confirmed that playgrounds, community centres and outdoor gyms in Wales will be able to reopen from Monday.

Funfairs will also be allowed to resume on the second of a three-week timetable to reopen large parts of Wales’ tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has outlined the next stages of England's "road map" to recovery out of coronavirus restrictions.

The adjustments to lockdown include relaxing restrictions on going into workplaces, greater powers to impose local lockdowns, and a timeline for the reopening of indoor performance spaces.

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