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Mark Drakeford gives hopeful new year message but warns of difficult weeks ahead

The First Minister reflected on the past year and thanked frontline workers and NHS staff.

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Mark Drakeford, Wales’ First Minister, delivers his New Year message. (Welsh Government/PA)

Mark Drakeford, Wales’ First Minister, delivers his New Year message. (Welsh Government/PA)

Mark Drakeford, Wales’ First Minister, delivers his New Year message. (Welsh Government/PA)

There will be “better and brighter times ahead”, Mark Drakeford has said, despite warning that Wales faces a difficult few weeks ahead.

In his new year message, the First Minister reflected on the past 12 months and thanked frontline workers and NHS staff for helping keep the country safe.

He urged people to “pull together” and make getting a booster vaccine one of their resolutions for the beginning of 2022.

A great many of us will be making resolutions. If you haven’t done so already, please put having your booster vaccine at the top of the listMark Drakeford

“Once again, our incredible frontline workers and NHS staff have gone far beyond the call of duty, working day in and day out to care for and protect us in our times of need. Thank you. Diolch o galon i chi gyd,” Mr Drakeford said.

“Our thoughts are now turning to the year ahead – a new year which will bring new possibilities with it for us all.

“At this time of year, a great many of us will be making resolutions. If you haven’t done so already, please put having your booster vaccine at the top of the list.

“As we look forward to 2022, we do so knowing the weeks ahead will be difficult. Omicron is here in Wales and is moving quickly through our communities.

“There will be better and brighter times ahead. Time to spend with friends and family – and time to make new memories. So please, let’s all pull together again as we head into the new year.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart also issued a new year message thanking those involved in the rollout of the vaccine programme, those who developed and produced it, health workers who have been administering the jab and members of the armed forces who have assisted.

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Simon Hart (Aaron Chown/PA)

Simon Hart (Aaron Chown/PA)

PA

Simon Hart (Aaron Chown/PA)

He said: “The incredible effort to roll out the vaccine – and recently a booster – in 2021 has brought much greater safety to large numbers of the population and it undoubtedly means we are in a better place than 12 months ago.

“We still have a way to go, and I encourage anyone not yet vaccinated or boosted to get their jabs now.”

Mr Hart said the Government was committed to building back better and levelling up in Wales.

“It may be difficult to imagine at the moment but I am confident that in 2022 we will have much to be optimistic about,” he added.

“In Wales, every part of the country is now covered by a growth deal. These significant economic schemes represent huge opportunities to help rebalance the Welsh economy.

“The UK and Welsh governments are working hand in hand, alongside local authorities and business, to unleash the full potential of our different regions.”

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