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Wales lockdown to be extended for another three weeks

Written by on 29/01/2021

Wales’ first minister is to extend the country’s coronavirus lockdown for another three weeks.

Mark Drakeford is also expected to confirm that primary school pupils could start returning after half-term if infection rates continue to improve.

The country entered the toughest “level 4” rules – effectively a national lockdown with a stay-at-home order – a few days before Christmas amid high case rates, but the Welsh government has said the situation is now improving.

Snowdonia is a popular place for hiking but rules in Wales state you should start and finish exercising from home. File pic
Image: The Welsh government says infection rates are now the lowest since November

However, officials said the lockdown needed to stay for now to “allow the NHS to recover”.

“Rates of coronavirus across Wales have fallen below 200 cases per 100,000 people for the first time since early November,” a statement said.

“And every day, thousands more people receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – the latest figures show almost 11% of the population have been vaccinated.”

The government said there could be a “phased and flexible return to school after 22 February if the public health situation continues to improve”.

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Currently schools and colleges are closed in Wales for the vast majority of pupils, but nurseries are open.

Welsh authorities review the COVID rules every three weeks and today’s decision to extend the lockdown was widely expected.

Its chief medical officer, Dr Frank Atherton, said on Wednesday that a national easing of the rules was unlikely until at least the end of February.

The reproduction – or R number – in Wales was put at 0.7- 0.9 this week.

 Sky News

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