Coronavirus: Wales 'business as usual' says First Minister Mark Drakeford

Virus in the lungImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
One case of coronavirus has been diagnosed in Wales

The coronavirus outbreak should not stop people from "carrying on in their normal way of conducting their lives", Wales' first minister has said.

"At this stage the UK continues to be in business as usual," Mark Drakeford said.

He spoke after taking part in a Cobra meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday.

One case of coronavirus has been diagnosed in Wales. The patient is being treated in London.

The advice to anyone with flu-like symptoms is not to go to A&E or a GP's surgery, but to phone NHS Direct or 111, Mr Drakeford said.

"Big efforts are being made to contain the virus", he told a press conference.

Mr Drakeford said the four governments of the UK were "collectively in the best possible position to slow down the spread".

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Wales' health service, in common with Northern Ireland and Scotland, is run by the country's devolved administration, the Welsh Government.

Ministers and officials have been working with counterparts across the UK on a joint response to the new illness.

Earlier Boris Johnson warned that spread of coronavirus in the UK was likely, but said a plan has been agreed to tackle it.

Speaking at the Welsh Government's HQ in Cardiff, Mr Drakeford said there was "no need for schools to be closed en masse because concerns about individuals".

"If we were to move beyond a containment strategy - and that is a big if - we are working to the best and planning for the worse," he said.

Routine NHS work may have to be postponed to deal with the demands of the virus, he said, "if things were to become more difficult".

Image caption,
Mark Drakeford said the UK is 'business as usual'

On the Six Nations rugby he said there was "no change on proposed arrangements" for the Wales v Scotland game on 14 March, but everything was "under review".

The Cobra meeting was chaired by the prime minister and also involved the first ministers of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The 111 service is available in Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay health board areas.