Mark Drakeford today announced he would extend the Welsh lockdown. Restrictions will continue for another three weeks in the country, and the First Minister signalled hopes to have children returned to school sooner. But as he extended blanket restrictions, he also slightly loosened the rules.
What are the new lockdown rules for Wales?
Wales entered a restrictive lockdown in mid-December 2020 and has remained there since.
Much like the rest of the UK, the “level four” lockdown attempts to keep people inside where possible.
The rules ask people to refrain from going out in public and reduce the number of people at work.
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For the time being, the Welsh government has only introduced these two changes.
But it hopes to relax rules further down the line, to a point “when we can all live with fewer restrictions on our lives and without fear of this terrible virus”.
Eventually, Mr Drakeford also hopes rules can be relaxed enough for children to return to school.
If infection rates improve, they could go back to class from after half term this year, which runs from February 15 to 19.
Speaking at the Welsh government’s press briefing, Mr Drakeford said officials don’t yet have the “headroom” to open schools now.
He said: “Getting young people back into school and college for face-to-face learning is our priority.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have the headroom to do this yet. As soon as we do, we want schools and colleges to begin to re-open.
“If infections continue to fall, we want children to be able to return to school after half-term from February 22, starting with the youngest children in our primary schools.”