Swansea University academic warns Christmas Covid-19 measures 'don't go far enough'

Swansea lecturer explains what the data says about possible effectiveness of Covid rules over the festive period.

A lecturer at Swansea University has called for stronger measures to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant over the Christmas period.

Dr Simon Williams, senior lecturer in people and organisations, told ITV Cymru Wales the Welsh Government's announcement on Friday "does not go far enough".

It comes as First Minister Mark Drakeford said that from the 27th of December, nightclubs would be forced to close and social distancing would be mandatory in the workplace again.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford, announced the rules on night clubs closing, last week.

Dr Williams said the changes after Christmas will not be "sufficient to encourage and necessitate the kind of reductions in social mixing that we need".

On Saturday, a further 22 cases of the Omicron variant were discovered in Wales, taking the total to 181 known cases.

The Delta strain is still dominant in Wales, and the prominence of the new variant is thought to be at a lower level than in England and Scotland, but it's expected to rise quickly in the coming days.

"The compliance [with Covid rules] has been mostly high during most of the pandemic and there's been a remarkable achievement by the Welsh and the British public to sacrifice and suffer so much to really protect the NHS", Dr Williams said.

But he said the data over time showed that compliance is higher during periods where there is a very clear message. For example he said compliance with rules is high during lockdowns, because it sends a message that we need to drastically reduce our social contact.

Credit: PA Images

Dr WIlliams also said that compliance with the rules is also reliant on certain forms of support for people, like financial assistance to encourage people to self-isolate when they are ill.

"Most people are extraordinarily fatigued, they're finding this period extremely challenging but they are heeding the advice from the Welsh Government to reduce their social contacts.

"The hope is that in the absence of stronger policy, the voluntary actions of individuals will be enough to slow the spread of the virus and buy us the time to progress with the booster rollout".

Dr Williams added that he expects further measures to be brought in after Christmas.

The Welsh Government said a decision is set to be made on Monday regarding arrangements for festive sport.

Read more: