News | Published May 17 2020

Welsh government announces measures to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford has made public his government’s plans to ease the Covid-19 lockdown in Wales, saying that the approach puts “people’s health first” and provides “more detail than we’ve ever had before”.

The plans do not include specific dates for when restrictions could be eased, while Drakeford informed the media that decisions “will be based on the latest scientific advice”.

Drakeford said in the run-up to the weekend: "We will act carefully and cautiously, in partnership with people, in a way that is right for Wales. And we will put people's health first.”

Paul Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, was critical of the plan, calling it a “roadmap to a cul-de-sac” as opposed to a recovery.

Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price labelled the plans as “thin on detail”, particularly with regard to preventing the spread of the virus in the community.

Price added: "The onus will fall on the Welsh Government to urgently change gear on testing and tracing to allow us to move safely on to the next phase on the path to recovery.”

The Welsh government is using a traffic-light system akin to that in England to loosen lockdown restrictions in phases.

Drakeford said that Wales was “cautiously” moving into the first red zone and taking the “first steps” on the road to recovery.

The ultimate goal of reaching the so-called “green zone” would come when Wales was “on top of the virus”, but Drakeford warned that life would not be the same at that stage as it was before the pandemic.

The first minister added that coronavirus would be present for “a long time to come” until a vaccine or cure is developed.

Drakeford also hoped that some school-age children in Wales would be able to resume their studies before the summer holidays, but concrete dates for the reopening of schools have not been set.

Ahead of the reopening of schools, education minister Kirsty Williams has publicised a document which will serve as a"stimulus for wider discussion and feedback" on how social distancing will be implemented in schools.

Williams said: “I want to be clear that this framework does not - and I will not - set an arbitrary date for when more pupils will return to school.

"Setting a date before we have more evidence, more confidence and more control over the virus would be the wrong thing to do."

Williams added that the Welsh government would give sufficient notice to schools when the country moves into the next phase, allowing for necessary preparations to be made and ample time for staff to train and ready themselves for work under the new measures.

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
May 17 2020

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