Wales alert level will return to zero – and minimum coronavirus restrictions – within the next two weeks, if the public health situation continues to improve, Mark Drakeford will announce on Friday, 14 January.
The results of the latest Welsh government review of coronavirus restrictions will be announced by the First Minister at a press conference at lunchtime on Friday.
However, a Welsh government statement released tonight said it would use that press conference to draw up a two-week plan to lift almost all restrictions.
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Outdoor activities will be the first to lift all restrictions, although it is not yet clear when this will go into effect.
As long as cases keep falling, it will mean that Wales’ Six Nations games can be played in front of a capacity crowd as the first game in Wales is set to take place on 12 February.
The statement added: “First Ministers will determine tomorrow how Wales plans to return to Alert Level Zero if the public health situation continues to improve.
“Mark Drakeford in his press conference will outline a two-week plan to ease the Alert Level Two restrictions from Boxing Day onwards.
“The Welsh Government has been able to begin removing protections imposed in response to the Omicron wave, thanks to the support and successful booster campaign of people across Wales – more than 1.75 million people have received additional booster doses.
“The move towards alert level zero will be done in a phased manner, with restrictions on outdoor activities being lifted first.”
Wales has been on alert level two since Boxing Day. That means caps on people who meet indoors and out, hospitality must follow the rules of table service and groups must not be larger than six, and sporting events have seen restrictions on crowds. Nightclubs were also forced to close their doors.
The restrictions were imposed out of fear of the impact of the Omicron version. However, data is showing falling case numbers, and, importantly, the number of patients in critical care beds with Omicron are also declining.
Pressure is building especially on the Six Nations ahead to lift the ban on the sport. Earlier this week, Scotland lifted its restrictions and Wales has historically been a week behind Scotland in lifting restrictions. Both publicly available data, and data that the cabinet was shown at two meetings on Thursday, show cases in Wales continue to decline.
As long as that happens, the first minister would say, the restrictions could be lifted once again.
Despite earlier indications of the week that he would not make any changes, the first minister has now planned in detail when each of those measures will be lifted.
Its least severe, alert level zero means that all adults or children aged 11 and over must wear a mask, with people self-isolating for at least seven days if they test positive ( Negative lateral flow tests can end in days six and seven (their isolation before the standard 10 days), and businesses can conduct a risk assessment and take appropriate measures to reduce the risk and spread of the coronavirus. Working from home becomes a guide rather than a law.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan told Senedd members on Tuesday that sport would be one of the first things the government would consider lifting restrictions.
Thursday was the first time that asymptomatic people were told they only needed a positive lateral flow test (LFT) that Public Health Wales published its weekly report on LFT testing.
PHW experts expect a 10% drop in the number of positive PCR cases as a result of the change, meaning the weekly LFT report, although it covers only a section of Covid cases in Wales, has a role to play in understanding that Where is covid spreading? Wells and how fast.
Data published on Thursday, January 13, and covering a 24-hour period, show 3,197 new positive cases, bringing the total to 735,745.
The total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive in Wales now stands at 6,679.
According to the latest figures from Public Health Wales, 11 more people have died from the coronavirus.
PHW’s latest infection rate, based on the seven days to January 8, is 1,492.4 cases for every 100k people – which is down, as would be expected, at 1,595.6 recorded on Wednesday through changes to the LFT tests in weekly Filtered. infection rate.
On Thursday, Eluned Morgan said there were some “very positive signs” that the country is now “turning a corner” when it comes to infection rates that have fallen significantly in recent days.
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