Welsh government to scrap ALL Covid curbs in two weeks

Welsh government to scrap ALL Covid curbs in two weeks after claims it ‘overreactedto Omicron: Mark Drakeford to announce that clubs can reopen, rule of six in pubs will end and 50-person limit on outdoor events will be lifted

  • Wales is set to move from alert level two to alert level zero by the end of January
  • Restrictions on outdoor events will be eased first in two-week phased approach
  • Under current rules, only six people can meet in pubs, restaurants and cinemas
  • First Minister will hold a press conference at midday to announce the roadmap
  • What is alert level zero?

    Wales moved to alert level zero on August 7 laas jaar.

    During that period, there were no limits on the number of people who could meet and all businesses could remain open.

    Some rules were legally kept in force, including businesses and employers undertaking a specific coronavirus risk assessment, a 10-day isolation period for anyone who tested positive for Covid, and people aged 11 or over had to wear face coverings in some indoor settingsexcept restaurants, kroeë, cafes or nightclubs.

    The self-isolation period has since been reduced to seven days in Wales.

    It is not yet known whether alert level zero measures this month will be the same as those from August.

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    The Welsh government will scrap all Covid curbs in two weeks under plans to reopen clubs, end the rule of six in pubs and lift the 50-person limited on outdoor events.

    Mark Drakeford will lay out a plan for Wales to move from alert level two to alert level zero by the end of January if the public health situation continues to improve.

    Restrictions on outdoor activities will be eased first before extending to other rules introduced on Boxing Day in a phased approach.

    Under current measures, a limit of six people can meet in pubs, restaurants and cinemas, with outdoor events restricted to 50 mense, en 30 binnenshuis.

    Rules also include mask-wearing in all public venues, the two-metre rule and the rule of six in hospitality settings. Nightclubs have been forced to shut.

    The First Minister will hold a press conference at 12.15pm on Friday to announce the two-week roadmap following a review of the rules.

    Speaking this morning, he said the move comes amid a rapid decline in the number of cases, toevoeging: ‘We appear to have passed the peak of Omicron.

    Wallis’ coronavirus case rate recently fell to 1,492.4 per 100,000 people over seven daysits lowest level since December 27.

    The total number of people admitted to critical care with the virus is also 20 per cent of that recorded over the same period in January last year.

    It follows Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, accusing the Welsh government of ‘overreactingto the coronavirus variant.

    Responding to Mr Drakeford’s latest roadmap, the Welsh Conservatives said they are glad he has ‘finally listened to callsto lift restrictions.

    Official data up to January 5 shows the number of Covid cases per 100,000 people is decreasing in England, Skotland en Wallis

    Official data up to January 5 shows the number of Covid cases per 100,000 people is decreasing in England, Skotland en Wallis

    First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured on December 22) will hold a press conference at midday on Friday to announce the two-week roadmap following a review of the rules

    First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured on December 22) will hold a press conference at midday on Friday to announce the two-week roadmap following a review of the rules

    What are the Covid restrictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

    SKOTLAND

    Large events are limited to 11 people standing indoors, 200 people sitting indoors and 500 people outdoors.

    Allowing staff to work from home where possible has become a legal duty on employers.

    Mense ouer 12 and over must wear face coverings in indoor settings such as shops, hospitality venues and public transport. People should also wear masks in outdoor crowded areas.

    Nicola Sturgeon has said restrictions on outdoor events will be lifted next Monday.

    She added that all measures, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from January 24.

    NORTHERN IRELAND

    Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said nightclubs will be closed from 6am on December 26.

    Dancing will also be prohibited in hospitality venues, but this will not apply to weddings.

    People must remain seated for table service, while table numbers will be limited to six.

    First Minister Paul Givan has said the Stormont Executive could begin lifting some restrictions by next week.

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    Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘Because the data and the science is saying to usas the modelling we have in Wales predictedwe appear to have passed the peak of Omicron, and are coming down very rapidly on the other side.

    ‘That gives us confidence that over the next two weeks we can gradually and carefully lift the level of protections we needed over the Christmas period, because from a public health perspective it will then be safe to do so.

    Wales was previously criticised for imposing much tougher restrictions than England over the festive period.

    UKHospitality Cymru had warned hospitality businesses in Wales were already ‘battered and bruised and at the end of their tetherby a collapse in customer numbers and said the rules would ‘only make matters worse’.

    Welsh Conservatives leader Mr Davies said: ‘Labour ministers clearly overreacted to Omicron, and that has caused significant pain and anguish for families and businesses in Wales.

    ‘Ongelukkig, Labour have left Wales as an outlier in the UK with the strictest restrictions when it comes to sport, outdoor activity and hospitality.

    Bur Mr Drakeford denied the measures had come at a huge cost to Welsh commerce and hospitality, blaming the impact of the Omicron wave instead.

    He criticised England’s looser restrictions, saying they had led to ‘thousands upon thousandsof people unable to do their jobs because of sickness.

    Hy het gesê: ‘The government in England has been paralysed throughout this process and simply hasn’t been able to take decisions.

    ‘In Wales we have a government that is prepared to do difficult things when they are necessary to protect public health.

    The easing of restrictions on outdoor activities could mean Six Nations Rugby matches which are due to start next month can go ahead in the country.

    Pressure had been mounting from sports organisations and fans, with many fearing games would have to be held across the border in England.

    In a statement released last night, the Welsh government said: ‘The First Minister will tomorrow set out how Wales plans to move back to alert level zero if the public health situation continues to improve.

    ‘Mark Drakeford will set out the two-week plan to ease the alert level two restrictions which have been in place since Boxing Day at his press conference.

    ‘The Welsh Government is able to start removing the protections put in place in response to the Omicron wave, thanks to the support of people across Wales and the successful booster campaign – more than 1.75million people have had the extra booster dose.

    Meanwhile in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said restrictions on outdoor events will be lifted next Monday.

    She added that all measures, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from January 24.

    And in Northern Ireland, First Minister Paul Givan said the Stormont Executive could begin lifting some coronavirus restrictions by next week.

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