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Wales sets out traffic light system for exiting current lockdown measures

Wales sets out traffic light system for exiting current lockdown measures

The Welsh Government has set out its proposals for the next steps in tackling the Coronavirus pandemic, after nearly eight weeks in lockdown.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has unveiled a traffic light roadmap setting out how Wales could exit the Coronavirus lockdown. Under current measures, people in Wales have to stay at home and maintain contact only within households, with limited exceptions.

The roadmap, named 'Unlocking our society and economy: continuing the conversation', is part of a 'cautious, coherent approach to easing lockdown' according to the Welsh government, and it builds on a paper 'Leading Wales out of the Coronavirus pandemic: a framework for recovery', published last month.

The traffic light categories will apply across life in Wales, including reopening schools and childcare facilities, allowing shopping, use of public services and seeing friends and family. The traffic light system starts with 'lockdown' and could see Wales move through the lights from 'red' to 'green'. The First Minister said that the green light stage will represent a time where life looks similar to before Coronavirus, but that this will not be a stage where everything is not back to normal.

The roadmap does not set out dates, as the Welsh Government says it can only move forward when the scientific advice says it is safe to do so.

The traffic light approach is set to work as follows;

  • Lockdown - Current measures - schools are only open to vulnerable pupils and children of key workers. People are advised to stay at home, to work from home if possible and only leave home if for essential travel
  • Red – Schools enabled to manage increased demand from more key workers and vulnerable pupils returning; local travel, including for click-and-collect retail allowed; people allowed to provide or receive care and support to/from one family member or friend from outside the household 
  • Amber  –  Priority groups of pupils to return to school in a phased approach; travel for leisure allowed together with meeting with small groups of family or friends for exercise; people able to access non-essential retail and services; more people travelling to work;
  • Green  –  All children and students able to access education; Unrestricted travel subject to ongoing precautions; All sports, leisure and cultural activities, as well as socialising with friends permitted, with physical distancing

The 20-page document setting out the roadmap makes clear that different activities in Wales may be on different sections of the traffic light system. For example, one activity may be on red, while another may be in lockdown.

The Welsh Government has said that decisions on every step moving forward will be informed by Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Frank Atherton, the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Group.

The First Minister of Wales said, speaking about the changes;

“Over the last eight weeks, we have seen an incredible effort, from all parts of our society, to respond to the unprecedented challenge to our way of life posed by the Covid 19 virus.

“As a result, we, like countries across the world are able to think about how we can move out of the lockdown. But, it is essential as we do so, that we recognise this is not a short-term crisis. Until there is a vaccine or effective treatments, we will have to live with the disease in our society and to try to control its spread and mitigate its effects.

“The challenges we face are shared with all parts of the United Kingdom. For that reason, we have always strongly supported a four-nation approach to the lifting of the lockdown.

“But this has to respect the responsibilities of each Government to determine the speed at which it is safe to move and the balance to be struck between different forms of ‘easement’ – how to prioritise between allowing people to meet up with close family, to go shopping or to the hairdresser, to get back to work or visit the seaside.

“With limited ‘headroom’ to ease the current restrictions, choices need to be made and we want to make those choices in consultation with our partners and the people of Wales.

“That is why we are publishing this document, not as the final word, but as part of the continuing conversation.

“But for the next two weeks, at least, I urge everyone in Wales to stick to the advice, Stay Home, Protect our NHS and Save Lives.”

 

The full document released on Friday can be found on the gov.wales website.

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