England has been accused of “ignoring the science” by refusing to introduce restrictions on coronaviruses by Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford, as he continued his war of words with the British government.
Mr Drakeford defended his earlier comments that England were the ‘world outlier’ in the fight against the Omicron variant.
On Friday, he launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, accusing him of leading a government that was “politically paralyzed”.
Speaking to Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Mr Drakeford said: ‘I get asked time and time again why don’t Wales do the same things England do?
“My response was to point out that in this debate it is not Wales that is the outlier.
‘Wales is following the same path of building protections as Scotland, Northern Ireland and not just the decentralized governments of the UK, but governments across Europe and the world whole.
“The questions as to why the UK government decided not to follow this course of action are his, not mine.
“I think they didn’t do what science told them to do.
“But these are decisions they have to answer for – I am responsible for the decisions we make here in Wales.”
Alert Level 2 restrictions remain in Wales, including wearing face coverings indoors, groups in public places such as restaurants limited to six people and working from home if possible.
Indoor events of more than 30 people or outdoor events of more than 50 people are not allowed.
As of Friday, 994 people with Covid-19 were being treated in Welsh hospitals while around 40 of them are in intensive care – the majority of whom are not vaccinated.
Drakeford said having different restrictions in England and Wales made public health communications “more difficult”.
“When we have different messages across our border, it makes it harder for us,” he told Sky News.
“We have faced this in the past and we continue to do so because we believe it is the right thing to do to protect life and livelihoods here in Wales.”
He also said he hoped restrictions could be lifted in Wales as he expected infections to drop sharply once peaks in the next two weeks.
“As soon as we are able to see the peak passed and the position improve, of course we will want to go back to the much more modest level of protection that we had in place just a few weeks ago,” he said. .
“We hope that the level of protections we currently have in place will be sufficient to mitigate the impact of Omicron in helping our NHS cope with the astonishing pressures it faces every day.”