Stay at home lockdown restrictions are to be extended and strengthened in Wales, while school and college pupils are likely to continue to learn online until February half term, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said on Friday that everyone must continue to stay at home to save lives, with Wales-wide alert level four restrictions being extended. It was decided at a formal review of the restrictions, which have been in place since 19 December, to extend them for at least three more weeks
The decision means non-essential retail, hospitality venues, licensed premises and leisure facilities must all still remain closed. Lockdown measures will also be strengthened further, seeing the closure of all showrooms, though click and collect arrangements can continue to operate.
Cases of the virus remain very high in Wales and the new, more transmissible variant of the virus is believed to be present across the country.
Restrictions will next be reviewed on 29 January, but the Welsh Government has warned that if cases have not fallen significantly before then, school and college pupils will continue to learn online until the February half term.
Mr Drakeford said;
“The coronavirus pandemic has reached a significant point. Cases in Wales remain very high and our NHS is under real and sustained pressure.
“The alert level four restrictions we introduced before Christmas must remain in place to keep us all safe. To slow the spread of the virus, we all must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“These feel like dark times but the new Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out across Wales, giving us a path out of this pandemic.
“It will take a huge effort to vaccinate everyone and, despite the end of this pandemic being in sight, it is more important than ever that we follow the rules and stay at home. We have made so many sacrifices together and we mustn’t stop now.”
Wales reported an additional 63 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, meaning 3,801 people have now died in Wales within 28 days of a positive Coronavirus test.