Covid in Wales: Mark Drakeford helps to relax the restrictions for Wales

Image source, Andy Evans/ Parkrun

Parkruns were not permitted in Wales due to rules regarding outdoor activities.

Welsh laws restricting large events and business that are involved in the Omicron case will be removed as the Covid cases fall.

The move comes after increasing pressure from opposition parties calling for an end to rules in force since 26 Dec.

First, outdoor restrictions will be removed

Mark Drakeford, First Minister, said Omicron cases will fall “rapidly” so rules can be relaxed.

Welsh authorities also highlighted the successes of booster campaigns in lifting restrictions. Over 1.8 million people received extra doses.

Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives both called for a road map to remove restrictions. Meanwhile, the Welsh Rugby Union was considering moving fixtures home for Six Nations from Wales.

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Following the most recent review of Covid rules Mr Drakeford will reveal the details at a Friday press conference.

He spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, saying that Wales has passed the Omicron peak. Cases are “coming down very quickly”.

The move also was denied by him, adding that it wasn’t a U-turn. Actually, it’s the exact opposite.

We follow science and data in Wales. When necessary, we make tough decisions.”

“Over two weeks, we can gradually but carefully increase the amount of protections needed for Christmas and New Year as it is safe and healthful from a public safety perspective,” he stated.

The number of cases in Wales is declining rapidly, as we can see. The number of cases in Wales was 2,300 per 100,000 population on Friday. It is now only 1,200.

“This is a rapid decline supported by other measures in Wales. We have the ability to lift protections. This is why we are now in a more favorable position than we were today.

According to the regulations, all sports fixtures had to take place behind closed doors. No spectators were allowed. All volunteer Parkrun events were called off.

“It has been a frustrating time. We believe physical activity should not be restricted unless there is evidence to support it. Tom William from Parkrun said this.

Scotland will remove its sports crowd restrictions starting Monday.

In Wales, the case rate is now at its lowest since 27/12/2012, 1,492.4 for every 100,000 inhabitants over 7 days.

Despite changes in testing policy, some people who have tested positive to lateral flow devices are no longer required to undergo PCR tests. However, it is impossible for the depth and cause of the fall not be completely explained by this change.

Also, the number of patients in critical care receiving Covid is 20% lower than the January 2021 level.

After large rises in Covid cases within the UK as a result of the Omicron variant in Covid, the Welsh government put restrictions in place on big events and business in December.

The rules for nightclubs meant that events could only be held outdoors at 50 and indoors at 30 respectively.

Restaurants were limited to serving table service with the Rule of Six, and pubs were prohibited from having any other food. Workplaces were also required to enforce social distancing.

Emma McLarkin, chief executive at the Welsh Beer and Pub Association said that every day is important because everybody wants to trade to get better.

She said on average pubs have lost about £16,000 during current restrictions that “they won’t recover”.

Twelve people work at the Blas Mwy Black Lion in Llanfaethlu (Anglesey), but it has been closed ever since New Years Eve.

“People were scared”

Annest Rowlands owner welcomed possible changes. She stated that “this year December was flat.” Restrictions weren’t put in place [before 26 December]But people were afraid.”

They used to host 25 parties at Christmas, but this year they only hosted one. Ms Rowlands stated that she hopes for something more “normal”.

These rules contrasted with England where ministers of the UK decided not to place additional restrictions beyond Plan B, despite warnings from health officials during Christmas.

Drakeford will present plans to make the transition from alert level two into alert level zero before the end of this month. Nightclubs would be allowed to reopen, and social distancing would be eliminated in all businesses.

According to Wales’s previous alert level zero rules all businesses could open their doors to the public without any restrictions.

In most places including shops and public areas, mask-wearing laws were not repealed. The government also advised that people continue working from home.

Covid permits were also needed in cinemas, nightclubs, and theatres.

Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservative Senedd said that he was pleased to hear from them.

“Despite all the scientific evidence in South Africa, Labour Ministers overreacted to Omicron. This has resulted in significant suffering and distress for both families and businesses.

“The British booster program has been a huge success. Labour should move quickly to remove any restrictions and get back on track to recovery. As a nation, we must learn to live without Covid.”

Drakeford said last Tuesday that Wales was “inthe teeth of an Omicron storm”.

Plaid Cymru’s Rhun Ap Iorwerth stated: “If it appears that we are at the peak of our abilities, then the best thing is to see what we can do safely.”

“Raising outdoor sports events’ limit would be a good place to begin, and moving quickly to lift other restrictions, such as hospitality, as soon as possible.

Public Health Wales’ latest statistics show that 81% of eligible Covid boosters have been received in Wales.

The total number of boosters distributed was 1,810,977 by the 13th January.


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