Five thousand Covid deaths: Did Wales do everything it could to prevent it?

Public Health Wales has officially recorded 5,001 deaths due to Covid

Wales has passed yet another grim milestone. The latest figures from Public Health Wales show more than 5,000 people have now died with Covid.

That's equivalent to one person every 90 minutes since March 2020.

To put that into context, according to statistics from the World Health Organisation, more people have died with the virus here than in China.

Wales, with a population of three million people, with a relatively low population density, has more deaths than the country where the outbreak started - and whose population is more than 1.3bn.

Out of a population of almost 1.4bn, 4,831 people have died in China of Covid-19, according to data from WHO Credit: PA

There are cities in China that have more people living in them than Wales. 

When this was put to the health minister, he challenged the robustness of the data from China, saying a comparison could not be made. However, there are other countries that have arguably handled coronavirus much better than Wales.

Taiwan, for example, an island with a population of 23 million people - and one of China's nearest neighbours - has recorded just nine deaths from coronavirus.

Taiwan has recorded just nine deaths relating to Covid-19 Credit: PA Images

New Zealand has had just over 2,000 cases in total - compared to Wales's 196,000.

It was just over a year ago that the Welsh Government, watching the situation in China unfold, issued a statement saying of COVID-19: "The risk to the UK is currently assessed as low and to date there have been no imported cases of the novel coronavirus to Wales or the wider UK."

As Italy and other parts of Europe then became the focus of surging Covid numbers, and as Wales reported two cases, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales issued a statement in which he said,

"I’d like to take this opportunity to assure the public that Wales and the whole of the UK is well prepared for these types of incidents."

So did Welsh Government do everything it could to keep the number of deaths here as low as possible?

The Health Minister says yes.

When asked, he said, "I do think we have done everything that we could have done at the time," but added that it didn't mean there aren't things, looking back, they might have done differently.

Wales' Covid rates are falling. Pressure on hospitals is falling.

This is all good news, but as Wales emerges bruised from another wave of Covid-19, many will be looking to other countries around the world and asking whether it needed to be like this.