We’ve put together a round-up of all the latest news, weather and travel information for Tuesday 26th April to prepare you for the day as it is reported that the Chancellor will consider proposals to make new public holidays honoring the Queen a permanent addition to the UK calendar.
Britons are already set for an extra day off on June 3, 2022 to mark the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee. But campaigners have called for the holidays to be made permanent from 2023 – with backing from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Hospitality UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury and others.
Read more:The 10 best places to live in Wales currently ranked by experts
In other news, the Welsh Government plans to tackle long waits for the NHS and is expected to be released later today. Under the new plans, an additional £60million will be given to health boards over the next four years, bringing the NHS Covid recovery budget to around £1. 1 billion. And, Elon Musk has struck a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter in a takeover that will give the world’s richest man control of a social network with more than 200 million followers. users.
Wales news headlines
Wales plans to end NHS waiting times of over a year by spring 2025
A strategy to “transform” planned care and reduce waiting times over the next four years is due to be released by Health Minister Eluned Morgan on Tuesday. The Welsh Government has confirmed it will be backed by an additional £60m, or £15m a year over the next four years, for health advice.
The plan, which will be unveiled at midday on Tuesday, aims to help the Welsh NHS manage the huge backlog of appointments and treatments that has built up during the pandemic. In February, there were a record 691,885 patients on the waiting list, more than a quarter of a million (251,647) of them for nine months or more. You can read the full story here.
The Minister of Health said the recovery plan aims to ensure that no one will wait more than a year for treatment in most specialties by spring 2025. A series of stretch targets for the councils of health will also be defined in the plan. Read what the Minister of Health has to say here.
Covid cases drop dramatically in Wales and the rest of the UK
The number of people with Covid in Wales has dropped dramatically, according to the latest figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 198,400 people in Wales contracted the virus in the week ending April 16, or 6.53% of the population, or around one in every 15 people.
This is a sharp drop from the 231,900 people (7.63%) who had the disease in Wales in the previous week, or around one in 13 people. It was a similar picture across all countries from the UK, each of them seeing a drop in their Covid levels. In England around one in 17 (6.53%) had Covid in the week ending April 16, it was one in 19 (5.35%) in Scotland and one in 30 (3.56%) in Ireland North.
This is the first time since January 22 that infections have fallen simultaneously in all four UK countries, suggesting that the recent surge caused by the Omicron BA.2 variant has peaked. However, the virus is still circulating at high levels in much of the country. You can get more health news and other story updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.
Across the UK, an estimated 3.8 million people in private households had Covid-19 in the week to April 16, up from 4.4 million the previous week. The total number of infections in the UK hit a weekly record of 4.9million at the end of March. Deaths involving Covid continue to rise slowly, but remain well below the numbers seen in the first and second waves. Learn more here.
Staying mostly dry with varying amounts of cloud and sun. Here is the latest weather forecast for Wales:
After a cool and locally foggy start, this morning will be dry with lots of sunshine. A few clouds are expected to form this afternoon, with a small chance of light showers. Feeling slightly warmer than yesterday, especially in the west. Maximum temperature 16°C.
Clouds tending to dissipate this evening with long sunny spells developing overnight. Cold shoot with possible frost in some rural areas. The strange haze patch also forms. Minimum temperature -1°C.
Here’s how roads and railroads are affected at 8 a.m.
Train service suspended on Transport for Wales between Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil due to problems with signals.
Llanharry Road in Llanharry, Rhondda Cynon Taf, reopened just after 6am after an earlier building fire in Sycamore Road in Aelfryn.
National news headlines
Chancellor set to consider proposals for permanent ‘thank you holiday’
The Chancellor will consider proposals to create a new public holiday in honor of the Queen. Brits are already set for an extra day off on June 3, 2022 to mark the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee.
But campaigners have called for the holidays to be made permanent from 2023 – with backing from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Hospitality UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury and others. The Telegraph and The Express said the idea has now won support from Rishi Sunak, as well as Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie.
However, the PA news agency understands that Mr Sunak has not yet considered the proposals – although he intends to. The new ‘thank you party’ would recognize the Queen’s ‘extraordinary service’, as well as people’s efforts to support their communities, particularly over the past two years.
The Telegraph reported that Mr Sunak had asked the Treasury for a formal opinion on the suggestion. The newspaper also said Downing Street had asked the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to carry out a review of the matter.
He quoted a source as saying: “The Treasury is not saying no out of hand although it has previously been institutionally allergic to the idea of a new holiday. Rishi supports the campaign and the thinking behind it and asked for all expected costs.”
L’Express also reported that the Chancellor was “considering the proposals carefully”. It has previously been reported that Mr and Mrs Johnson are in favor of the move. No 10 and the Treasury have been approached for comment.
World’s richest man buys Twitter
Elon Musk has struck a deal to buy Twitter for around $44billion (£34.5billion), promising a more lenient touch to control content on the platform. The outspoken CEO of Tesla, who is also the richest person in the world, said he wanted to buy and privatize Twitter because he thinks it is not living up to its potential as a platform. form for freedom of expression. Mr Musk said in a joint statement with Twitter that he wanted to make the service “better than ever” with new features, such as removing automated “spam bots” and opening up its algorithms to the public to increase the trust.
“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said. The deal was completed about two weeks after the billionaire first revealed a 9% stake in the platform. Mr. Musk said last week that he had lined up $46.5 billion in funding to buy Twitter, pressuring the company’s board to broker a deal.
Twitter said the transaction had been unanimously approved by its board of directors. The 11-member board includes Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, who planned to leave the board in May.
Twitter said the deal is expected to close this year and is subject to approval by Twitter shareholders and regulators. Learn more here.
Young people face the nightmare
Welsh rugby manager Dai Young has opened up on his frustration with Cardiff’s struggles, describing his first full season in Wales as “a nightmare”. Young’s side have now lost three Welsh derbies in a row, including Saturday’s home loss to the Ospreys and a humiliating 49-14 loss to the Scarlets at Arms Park. They sit 14th in the United Rugby Championship table with only the Dragons and Zebre below them.
Young has cut an increasingly frustrated figure in recent weeks, admitting he is unable to give the squad an overhaul as players have had their contracts extended during Covid after taking pay cuts. He returned to the region in January last year, with high hopes of turning things around for the team. Read what he had to say here.