The Welsh Government is to accelerate parts of its easing of coronavirus restrictions in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
Multiple lockdown easements will take place a week earlier than planned, with the public health situation continuing to improve in the country.
Cases of COVID-19 in Wales have fallen to fewer than 21 per 100,000 people this week, while pressure on hospitals has continued to ease. The number of people in Welsh hospital beds with coronavirus this week (89) is at the lowest level since 22 September 2020.
The planned date for the resumption of organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions will be moved forward a week from 3 May to 26 April. From Monday 3 May, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be allowed to reopen for individual or one-to-one training and extended households will be permitted again – all earlier than previously signalled.
Announcing the change to the timings, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said;
“The public health situation in Wales continues to improve thanks to everything you are doing to help us control this awful virus. Cases of the virus are falling and our incredible vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.
“Last week, we set out our programme to further re-open the economy and relax the restrictions we have lived with for so long, as part of our careful, step-by-step approach to keeping everyone safe. This week, because of the improvements we continue to see, we can bring forward some of our plans.
“This is only possible because of the efforts everyone is making to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
The Welsh Government had been facing pressure from members of the public and the political opposition to allow venues including gyms and outdoor hospitality to reopen sooner.
Despite the acceleration of lockdown easements in Wales, some easements such as the reopening of gyms will still take place several weeks after the reopening of the same venues across the border where case rates are currently higher.
Wales currently has the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases in the UK. As of 3 April, the 7-day coronavirus case rates per 100,000 people in the other UK nations stood at 37 in England, 38.2 in Northern Ireland and 49.4 in Scotland.