First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford will today confirm that Alert Level Four lockdown restrictions will remain in place in Wales for the next three weeks.
Wales has been under nationwide stay at home lockdown restrictions since 20 December 2020. The Coronavirus situation in Wales has been improving recently, however, lockdown restrictions are to continue to remain in place to allow the NHS to recover from recent pressures.
In a press conference this lunchtime, Mr Drakeford will also indicate that schools and other educational settings in Wales could start to begin a ‘phased and flexible return’ after 22 February (following the end of the February half-term break), if rates of Coronavirus continue to fall.
A return to the classroom could begin with the youngest learners in primary schools after the half-term break, dependent on Coronavirus rates.
Wales currently has a 7-day case rate of around 190 Coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, the lowest rate since early November.
There are plans in place to see everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the JCVI – the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – offered a first dose of a Coronavirus vaccine by 15 February. It is hoped that as more people are vaccinated, pressures on the NHS will decrease, with fewer hospitalisations and deaths from the virus expected.
The proposed date of after 22 February for the return of some pupils to classrooms, while subject to change, is earlier than the date of 8 March being aimed at in England, as announced earlier this week. Wales does though currently have a significantly lower rate of COVID-19 cases than England, where the rate of cases was 373.2 per 100,000 people when last reported on 23 January.