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Editor defends daily after council boss brands Covid coverage ‘inaccurate’

Susan PerryAn editor has defended her newspaper after a council chief claimed its coverage of the latest coronavirus infection rates was “dramatic” and “inaccurate”.

Susan Perry, left, has backed the publication of a story by North Wales daily The Leader after Flintshire County Council chief executive Colin Everett, pictured, took exception to the paper’s coverage of Covid-19 infection rates.

It comes after The Leader covered a press conference by Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething, in which he was asked what was driving infection rates in Wrexham.

Mr Gething replied he believed the issue was “about community transmission”.

He added: “I hope it’ll lead to people making different choices in the future, because you’re right that we do still see higher rates in Wrexham and Flintshire compared to the rest of North Wales, but we see rates across North Wales as well, in five out of the six authorities are now above the previous 50 (per 100,000 people) mark per action to be taken.”

The Leader subsequently ran a story headlined ‘Huge hike in virus figures in the area’ and stated: “The health minister says high infection rate in Wrexham and Flintshire is due to community transmission with choices we are making helping spread Covid.”

But, according to, the story prompted Mr Everett to criticise The Leader during an update to the council’s environment and economy committee last week.

Mr Everett told the meeting he wanted to “correct” the story “for the public record” and labelled it “inaccurate”.

He said: “Most of the North Wales counties are fairly steady, in Flintshire there’s been a gradual increase over the last few days but it’s not a hike.”

Mr Everett added the figures quoted by The Leader were “not correct when it refers to the incidence rates per 100,000, it shows Flintshire at 30.1, we’re in fact at 139.7, it’s not accurate and it’s a quite dramatic headline”.

Susan, who is group editor for Newsquest North Wales, told HTFP in response to Mr Everett’s comments: “The Leader reports the latest coronavirus figures released by Public Health Wales daily.

“The article referred to came from comments made by Health Secretary Vaughan Gething at a press conference he gave in Cardiff.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.