Wales lockdown roadmap: date Covid restrictions will ease as Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford gives update

The Welsh First Minister said the top nine priority groups will have been offered their first dose of the vaccine by Easter Sunday, ahead of the initial schedule

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has mapped out the next two months of coronavirus restricitons, with election campaigning allowed from 12 April (Picture: Getty Images)

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has updated the Welsh Assembly on his plans for the country to ease restrictions further from the middle of April.

He was joined by Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, as he mapped out the major changes expected in the coming two months.

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People in Wales have already seen the reopening of schools for the youngest age groups, as well as a removal of “stay local” restrictions.

Wales has the lowest number of coronavirus cases in the UK, and the highest rate of people vaccinated - which Drakeford described as keeping the virus “in a relatively benign position."

The roadmap out of lockdown is due to gain haste from 12 April, however some of the lockdown easing takes place after the 6 May elections,so some steps will need to be voted on by the renewed Welsh Assembly.

Here is the latest route map out of lockdown for people in Wales and what factors are vital in ensuring the country can continue to move forwards.

Welsh route map

Drakeford said the next three weeks would see a “significant package of measures” taken to resume normality, which should “give everyone a sense of life returning again”.

These measure include:

From 12 April:

- All pupils to return to in-class learning, with all colleges, further education, training centres and university campuses progressing with a blended learning model.

- All remaining shops can reopen

- All close contact services can resume, including mobile services such as beauticians and hairdressers.

- Travel in and out of Wales from the rest of the UK and the Common Travel Area will be allowed

- Viewings at venues can resume by appointment

- Outdoor canvassing for elections can begin

The above have now been given the go-ahead to resume, with the following dependent on

whether "public health conditions remain favourable".

If coronavirus cases remain low and vaccines are distributed at the expected rate, from 26 April:

- Outdoor attractions can reopen, such as fairgrounds and theme parks

- Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants

From 3 May:

- Wedding receptions with up to 30 people can take place outdoors

From 10 May:

- Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities can reopen - this includes personal training sessions and individual exercise but not group sessions or exercise classes

- Two households will be able to meet indoors

There have also been further dates for restrictions easing mapped out, but these will be dependent on whether the new Welsh government approves the measures

These speculative dates are:

From 17 May:

- Children's indoor activities, community centres and organised indoor activities for up to 15 adults can resume, such as group exercise classes

There is also hope that indoor hospitality will be able to reopen, ahead of the bank holiday at the end of May

What factors are considered when easing lockdown?

For nearly two months, Wales has had the lowest Covid case rate in the UK, with fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 - the case rate threshold - for the last 26 days.

Wales currently has its lowest number of cases since 15 September, but if they rise again above 50 cases per 100,000 then this could lead to more restrictions being reintroduced.

On 1 April, Mr Drakeford told Sky News: "Provided we can [keep rates low] then there are new dates from here until the month of May where freedoms can be restored, businesses can reopen and we can take advantage of the time of year in which outdoor activities in particular are easier to resume.

"We have a good level of confidence that we will be able to achieve all of those dates,” he added that people in Wales “have to go on working hard to make sure that we don't lose the ground that we've gained".

The uptake of the vaccination in Wales has been high and the vaccination programme has been administered quicker than anywhere else in the UK.

As of 31 March, about two-thirds of 50-year-olds in Wales have now had a first Covid-19 vaccination, with more than 301,800 people having received a second dose.

According to Drakeford, by Sunday 4 April all nine priority groups will have been offered the vaccine, which means the country is ahead of its initial vaccine target.