Wales to return to three weekly review cycle as first minister unveils plans to ease covid restrictions
Wales is set to return to a three weekly review cycle from February as the first minister confirms that a phased return to alert level zero measures will begin this weekend.
The move comes as the latest public health data suggests cases of coronavirus have started to fall back from their very high levels. More than two-thirds of people aged 12 and over have received a booster or third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Wales has been under alert level two restrictions since Boxing Day after the Welsh government reintroduced measures to curb the spread of the omicron variant.
From tomorrow (15 January), the number of people who can be present at outdoor events will rise from 50 to 500.
From Friday 21 January Wales would move to alert level zero for all outdoor activities. This means there will be no limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities.
- Crowds will be able to return to outdoor sporting events
- Outdoor hospitality would be able to operate without additional reasonable measures.
- The Covid Pass will be required for entry to larger outdoor events.
If the downward trend continues, from Friday 28 January Wales would move to alert level zero for all indoor activities.
- Nightclubs will be able to re-open.
- Working from home would remain important but it would no longer be a legal requirement.
- Businesses, employers and other organisations must undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus.
- The Covid Pass will be required for entry to nightclubs, events, cinemas, concert halls and theatres.
- The rule of 6, table service and 2m physical distancing no longer required in hospitality.
- The self-isolation rules for all those who test positive for Covid and the face covering rules for most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January.
If conditions allow, the alert level two restrictions will be removed in a phased approach.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I want to thank everyone for following the rules we have had in place since Boxing Day to help keep Wales safe while the fast-moving omicron variant has surged through our communities.
“I also want to thank everyone involved in our vaccination programme for the enormous efforts to give almost a third of the population a booster since the start of December – this has been vital in increasing our protection against omicron.
“The actions we have taken together have helped us to weather the omicron storm. The latest data suggests some positive signs that the peak may have passed.
“We can now look more confidently to the future and plan to start gradually removing the alert level two restrictions, starting with the outdoors measures.
“But the pandemic is not over. We will closely monitor the public health situation – this is a fast-moving and volatile variant, which could change suddenly.
“I urge everyone to continue to follow the rules and have your vaccines to keep Wales safe.”
The three-weekly cycle would be re-introduced from 10 February, when the Welsh Government will review all remaining measures at alert level zero.
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