Sajid Javid blames Parkrun for cancelling Welsh runs amid Omicron – ‘Disproportionate’


The Secretary of State of Health and Social Care took to Twitter on Tuesday to react to the cancellations of the weekly running event in Wales. Unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Government has decided against introducing new Covid measures in England ahead of the new year — despite another record of 117,000 daily Covid cases reported on December 28.

Mr Javid wrote: “Parkrun has helped so many people improve their health across the UK.

“I can’t see how restricting outdoor exercise in this way is justified or proportionate.”

Parkrun’s decision followed new policies issued by Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales.

The Welsh leader introduced the new set of restrictions on December 22 to slow down the spread of the Omicron variant.

Since 6am on Boxing Day, social distancing rules have returned in workplaces and public spaces.

The rule of six for customers, tabler service and mask-wearing is back in the hospitality industry.

Parkrun and other significant events have had to be cancelled as, according to the new rules, only up to 50 people can gather for small sports events.

Venues such as nightclubs have also been shut down.

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In the statement published on its website on December 22, Parkrun said: “With increasing uncertainty about impending restrictions and how they might impact Parkrun and junior Parkrun events, we’d like to take this opportunity to update our communities around the country.

“The evidence remains clear that the infection risks presented by outdoor events like ours are exceptionally low, and the public health benefits of remaining open are incredibly high.

“It is our intention, therefore, that whatever Parkrun events are legally permitted to operate, they should do so.

“The Welsh Government has also announced a gathering limit of 50 people.

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“It does mean that we have no choice but to suspend all our 5k events from January 1 onwards.

“We know that some Welsh Parkrun events regularly have fewer than 50 people attending, however, it would take a very small influx for them to exceed the limit.”

The spokesman said that all Parkruns scheduled to take place in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will still happen as they are in line with restrictions in those countries.

The latest figures from Wales suggested a steep rise in cases in the days before Christmas.

At the same time, infections in Scotland remain among the highest recorded.


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