No change to coronavirus regulations in Wales as First Minister urges people not to reverse the work of the firebreak
There will no changes to the current coronavirus regulations in place in Wales, the First Minister confirmed today.
Since the end of the firebreak last week non-essential retail, hospitality and the tourism industry have reopened. Two households have also been able to bubble up together.
People can also meet in groups of up to four people (not including any children aged under 11) in regulated indoor places, such as hospitality – bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Travel into and out of Wales is also limited to needing a reasonable excuse.
However, speaking at today’s Welsh Government briefing First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed that there will be no easing of the restrictions and a further review will take place in two weeks.
He also warned that whilst the firebreak seen the seven day case incidence rate for Wales fall to around 160 cases for every 100,000 people in the population, he remains concerned about some people becoming “lax” and thinking coronavirus is over after the firebreak.
Since the end of the firebreak, police have attended more than 1000 coronavirus related incidents involving what Mr Drakeford described as a “selfish minority of people putting everybody at risk”.
He also did not rule out a further tightening of measures if cases start to rise again.
He said: “I have always been clear, we will not see the full impact of the firebreak measures until a few weeks after they ended on 9 November.
“Whilst there are encouraging signs the short, sharp intervention has broken chains of transmission, leading to falling numbers of positive cases, the situation in Wales remains very serious.
“Last week we sadly passed the sombre milestone of 3,000 deaths in Wales involving COVID19.”
He added: “We have always said that the real and lasting impact of the firebreak would depend on how we all act.
“Once that period was over, and here I’m afraid, the news is more mixed. Most people in Wales go on sticking with it, doing whatever they can to help turn back this deadly virus.
“But this is not universally the case. I receive letters and emails every day from people all over Wales, worried about how others are socialising in large numbers or gathering in their homes.
“Many of you will have seen just this morning that as Northern Ireland is coming out of a lock, a long period of lockdown, the Northern Irish executive has announced plans for a new two week circuit breaker which will start on Friday of next week.
“New strict restrictions are being introduced in large parts of Scotland, including Glasgow, to control rise in cases of coronavirus there. Now this is exactly what we are trying to avoid here in Wales.
“It’s against that background at the cabinet this week reviewed the national measures we have put in place in the post firebreak period and we have decided not to change them.
“There is no room for relaxation of those measures, and they will remain the same for the next two weeks.
“We need everyone, every single one of us to play our part to make sure that we continue to build on the progress of the firebreak and to keep those coronavirus cases falling.
“It’s simple, we know what we have to do. We have to reduce our contact with other people as much as we can. We have to avoid traveling, unless it is really necessary and we need to work from home, whatever we can.
“If we do all this together, then we can have a path through Christmas. And I know of course that many people will be planning for Christmas, and we’ll be hoping to see family and friends over that festive period.”
Welsh Ministers were required to review the restrictions by 19 November. They must then be reviewed every two weeks up to 17 December, after which they must be reviewed every three weeks, as prior to the firebreak.
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