Senior ministers have reportedly approved a decision to keep restrictions in place beyond what had been dubbed “freedom day” on June 21. The move follows warnings from scientists that the rapid spread of the Delta variant first identified in India risks a third vague if allowed to spread unchecked.
Prime Minister Mark Drakeford had previously confirmed that Wales will not see all Covid restrictions lifted on June 21, even if all measures are lifted in England. He told the weekly coronavirus briefing last week: “We are not following. This has never been the way we have handled the whole coronavirus crisis. We are making the right decisions for Wales and we are making them for ourselves in our own circumstances.
“England will make the decisions that those in charge think are right for them and we will make our own decisions. We will not be lifting all restrictions in Wales from June 21st. “
The next review of the restrictions in Wales will be announced on Friday 25 June, but the Welsh government is expected to make an announcement on Thursday whether there will be any changes in domestic activity, including the rule of six to meet at indoors in private homes and vacation accommodation; increase in the number of indoor gatherings and indoor events and the opening of ice rinks.
The Welsh government had said it would take the decision “if public health conditions permitted”.
Boris Johnson is expected to make the announcement at a press conference on Monday and will call on the public to be patient, with a last ditch effort to ensure that when the checks finally come to an end they will be “irreversible”.
However, this is a huge setback for many companies – especially in the struggling hospitality sector – who had placed their hopes in a full summer reopening to recoup some of the losses of the past year.
There is deep frustration among lockdown skeptics on Tory benches who have said there is no reason not to end restrictions as those most at risk of death or serious illness are now fully vaccinated.
In Wales, every adult will have been offered a vaccine by today – six weeks ahead of schedule.
Vaccination centers will now speed up the number of second doses given in an attempt to limit the spread of the delta variant across Wales.
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