The foreclosure in Wales has been extended for three weeks, Prime Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed in a video message.
Despite some positive signs, he said it was “too early to change course” in the fight against coronaviruses.
He said that lifting restrictions on home stay too quickly could lead to more deaths.
Ministers from all four British nations have agreed to do the same – pushing back the lockdown in May.
The Welsh ministers had already announced that it would be extended, but not for how long.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab made the same announcement for England on Thursday evening – Drakeford said ministers of the British government had “caught up” with his decision last week.
Under the restrictions, you can only leave your home for a limited set of reasons, including:
- To get essentials like food and medicine
- For exercise, once a day
- For work, if you cannot work from home
People who break the lock can be fined by the police. In Wales, they range from £ 60 for a first offense to £ 120 for subsequent offenses.
Gatherings of more than two people are prohibited and many stores have been forced to close.
High-level ministers from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the British government discussed the foreclosure at a Cobra meeting on Thursday.
In his video message, Drakeford said that each of the ministers agreed that “the current traffic restrictions to protect the NHS and thus save lives should continue for another three weeks”.
He said it was based on expert scientific analysis of the latest data on the coronavirus epidemic.
“Many lives are still at stake”
The Prime Minister said he knew that the past three weeks had been difficult for many.
But he said, “Although there are positive signs in the data, it is still too early to change course.
“Many lives are still at stake and too many families have already lost loved ones. “
Drakeford added: “I am clear that we cannot risk losing all the sacrifices we have made here in Wales in recent weeks by lifting the restrictions too early.
“It could mean more deaths and, in the long run, an even greater impact on people’s jobs and livelihoods. “
While the UK government and the three devolved governments are working together on foreclosure measures, the rules are set by country.
The Welsh government has its own lockdown legislation, which is broadly the same as elsewhere but has slight differences, including measures on social distancing in the workplace.
Drakeford told BBC Wales Today that British government ministers “caught up” with his announcement last week that he would extend the lockdown “because they agree with what I said today “
Although he insisted that he was “keen” to work on “a four nation basis”, he said his responsibility was primarily to Wales.
“I think we are always stronger in this position where we can work together and act together, but in the end my responsibility is to do what is right for Wales,” he added.
Opposition leaders in Wales supported the expansion.
Welsh Conservative Assembly Leader Paul Davies said: “Based on the scientific evidence available and the number of coronavirus cases, this is really the only reasonable and safe approach to take at the moment. “
Plaid Cymru chief Adam Price has called for assurances that the lockout restrictions across the UK “will not be lifted until all of the home nations agree.”
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, Conservative Minister in the British government, said the announcement was “to be expected”.
“Everyone agrees that we are not quite there yet and there is another big push needed to see if we can really control these numbers. “
Dominic Raab told daily briefing 10 that a review concluded that the relaxation of the measures could harm public health and the economy.
“We still do not have the infection rate as low as necessary,” he said.
The announcement came after a former Public Health Wales consultant warned of the “dramatic” long-term effects on people’s health of the economic impact of the closure.
Before Thursday’s announcement, Dr. Roland Salmon, a retired medical epidemiologist, said, “I don’t think it is clear that the lock worked.
“If we see the press conferences at 10 Downing Street every afternoon, we see people looking at the graph and telling us that there are green shoots – but the green shoots never really seem to turn into flowers. “
He said that when life expectancy, health inequalities and well-being are weighed, “the price of health we will have to pay in the future may well be more than the benefit we get now “