Wales extends coronavirus lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown in Wales will be extended for a further three weeks, with minor adjustments proposed but maximum caution maintained to ensure the virus does not spread, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.

To tackle the spread of coronavirus, the Welsh Government introduced regulations in March, which impose strict restrictions on gatherings, the movement of people and the operation of businesses, including closures, in Wales.

They also impose requirements on businesses that are open to take all reasonable measures to ensure physical distancing between people.

The Welsh Ministers must review the need for the requirements and restrictions in the regulations every 21 days.

The latest evidence from the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the advice of the Chief Medical Officer for Wales says while the first peak of infection has been passed and rates continue to fall, it is still too early for a significant lifting of requirements or restrictions.

As part of the second review, the Welsh Government has decided the lockdown in Wales will continue until the next review period in three weeks’ time.

People are being asked to continue working from home if they are able to do so.

The First Minister has today announced Wales intends to make a series of small adjustments to the regulations, including:

  • Allowing people to exercise more than once a day, but people should stay local. This means any exercise should start and end at home and not involve going a significant distance from home.
  • Enabling local authorities to begin the process of planning how to safely reopen libraries and municipal recycling centres.
  • Allowing garden centres to open provided they comply with the physical distancing duty.

It is intended these adjustments will come into force on Monday, so Wales moves in step with the rest of the UK.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:

“The coronavirus outbreak is unprecedented, as is our response.

“As a nation we have pulled together to tackle this virus, which has moved quickly around the world with tragic results. I want to acknowledge the loss some families have experienced. The actions we have taken to protect everyone, but particularly those at risk from serious illness, have been unparalleled.

“I want to thank everyone in Wales for this collective effort. Together we are helping to reduce the speed and spread of the virus. The result is a decreasing number of new cases and a reproduction rate that is going down.

“The Welsh Government is guided by the latest scientific evidence, advice from our Chief Medical Officer and the latest public health advice. The virus remains a very serious threat to us all and we cannot be complacent in any way. For that reason, the stay-at-home regulations will remain in place in Wales.

“Our preference remains a four-nation response to coming out of lock-down, and we remain in consultation with all parts of the UK. Our duty is to the people of Wales, and our decisions will be based on the evidence and specific circumstances of Wales.”

The Welsh Government is today publishing details of the scientific advice, which has been provided to Ministers by the Technical Advisory Cell (TAC).