The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) 2020 (‘the Regulations’), impose restrictions on gatherings, the movement of people, and operation of businesses, including closures, in Wales. They also impose requirements on businesses that are open to take reasonable measures to ensure physical distancing between people. This has been done to minimise the extent to which people leave their homes or come into close contact to help protect the public from the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Under regulation 3(2) Welsh Ministers are required to review the need for the requirements and restrictions in the Regulations every 21 days, with the first review by 16 April.
We have carried out a review against the latest evidence from the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and with advice from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales. In line with that evidence and advice we have determined that while the requirements and restrictions set out in the Regulations must remain in force, we will bring forward minor amendments shortly to clarify aspects of the Regulations.
We are keeping the Regulations under continuous review so that we can respond to the latest evidence on transmission of the virus, effectiveness of the requirements and restrictions, and levels of compliance as soon as needed.
While I understand there is some emphasis on when restrictions will be lifted, I want to be clear that should the evidence point to existing measures not having the desired effect we may need to consider a tightening of the requirements or restrictions or imposing new ones. Any decisions will be driven by the latest evidence from SAGE and advice of the Chief Medical Officer.
We expect more detailed evidence on the effectiveness and impact on existing restrictions to emerge from this week onwards. Any future decision to remove requirements or restrictions, whether wholly or partially, is likely to be gradual and will be driven by evidence.
We will continue to coordinate our response with the rest of the UK to ensure clarity and consistency of messages for the public and businesses.