A REVIEW of the coronavirus restrictions was hosted earlier today – here are answers to some FAQs…
Is Wales still in Level Four lockdown?
Yes, but with some “modest” relaxations.
What is the public health situation in Wales?
“The public health situation in Wales has improved significantly,” said First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Positivity rates are falling, with the R number below one. Plus, for the first time since early December the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in Wales has fallen below 1,800.
“We have all come such a long way together,” said Mr Drakeford.
“But we still need your help to keep one another and Wales safe. We have to keep infections as low as we possibly can.”
Have the rules changed?
From tomorrow there will be some “very modest” relaxations to the rules:
- Up to four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors for exercise.
- Athletes will be allowed to return to training.
- Licensed wedding venues will be allowed to open, under strict rules, next week for wedding and civil partnerships.
There will also be more scope for visits at care homes from next week, according to the First Minister.
How’s the vaccination rollout going?
Mark Drakeford said nearly 840,000 people in Wales have had their first dose of the vaccine – this is around one third of the adult population in Wales.
Next week health minister Vaughan Gething is expected to offer details on how unpaid carers and priority group six are going to be treated in Wales.
When will children return to school?
Mark Drakeford said the priority is getting the youngest children back to school, with foundation phase (infants) returning to school next week.
For a safe return to school the stay-at-home rules will remain in place for now.
Welsh Government aim to have all primary school pupils back into classrooms on March 15.
Is there an update on the hospitality sector?
Mr Drakeford said the sector is “not likely” to see a reopening at either of the next two reviews.
Hospitality will not be reopened until schools have opened safely, followed by some non-essential retail.
When will hairdresssers reopen?
The Welsh Government is considering how to open close-contact services – such as hairdressers – at the next review.
When will gyms reopen?
According to Mark Drakeford, the Kent variant of the virus may make gyms “particularly vulnerable” to being spaces where the virus is spread.
He said he doesn’t anticipate seeing gyms open in the next three weeks, but evidence will accumulate to backup whichever decision is made in the next review.
What is being done for older pupils with gaps in their learning due to lockdown?
Mr Drakeford said: “We are in very continuous conversations with leaders about what we can do to help children make up for some of the gaps that may have emerged in their learning.
“We’d already announced money for the school sector, and I think our education authorities have worked incredibly hard to get more than 1,000 extra staff in place to help children with catch up learning.”
Will there be more investment in GP surgeries and community clinics?
Mark Drakeford agreed that investment is going to be needed in the health service.
He said: “The future needs to be one of proper investment and proper recovery for a health service that has demonstrated its fundamental value to us all.”
When is the next review of Welsh regulations?
The next review will be in three weeks and will prioritise getting more people back to school and college.
They are also considering reopening of some non-essential retails and close-contact services.
Tourism may also be opened up slightly at the next review.