People in Wales will follow new Covid restrictions onwards following the conclusion of a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown.
New Covid restrictions in Wales
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said: “We all need to think about our own lives and what we can all do to keep our families safe. We need to stop thinking about the maximum limit of rules and regulations. Coronavirus is a highly infectious virus – it thrives on contact between people. To keep each other safe we need to reduce the number of people we have contact with and the amount of time we spend with them. There will be a new set of national measures from today, which will follow up all the hard work and sacrifices which have been made during the firebreak. We cannot go back to the way we were living our lives and throw away all that hard work.”
Some are worried about the lockdown ending as soon as it did with Covid deaths and cases still high. Experts had foreseen that the numbers were not going to decrease, since many of the current new cases and deaths are a result of transmission from weeks ago. The final week of Wales’s lockdown saw the number of Covid hospital admissions exceed that of the previous peak in April.
The Welsh Government is under pressure to place added restrictions on hard-hit areas such as Merthyr Tydfil which became the worst-hit area of the UK last week with 741 cases per 100,000 people.
Wales’s new restrictions include:
- The need to maintain two-metre social distancing and wear face masks in enclosed public places, including on public transport and taxis.
- The requirement to work from home whenever possible will remain.
- People should only meet with their bubble in their own home and only two households will be able to form a bubble. If one person from either household develops symptoms, everyone should immediately self-isolate.
- People will be able to meet in groups of up to four people from separate households (not including any children aged under 11) in regulated indoor places, such as hospitality – bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
- Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoor activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other Covid-19 safety measures are followed.
- People should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. There will be no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, but international travel should be for essential reasons only.
- Primary schools and years seven and eight in secondary schools remained open during the lockdown apart from the half-term break, but all schools and year groups will resume from Monday. Universities will resume a combination of in-person teaching and blended learning.
- A 10pm curfew on alcohol sales will return.
- Supermarkets can sell non-essential goods again.
Mark Drakeford has also called on the four nations of the UK to make plans for Christmas together with a unified approach.