Changes to lockdown restrictions in Wales
The Welsh government has made some minor changes to lockdown rules as infections in the country fall to their lowest point since September.
The seven-day average now stands at 84 per 100,000, with a third of adults having at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
From Monday 22 February, children aged three to seven will begin returning to schools in a phased way, while some vocational learners on courses that require practical learning, will return to college.
Other changes to the current rules include that from Saturday 20 February, four people from two different households will be able to meet outdoors for socially distanced local exercise. This doesn’t apply to private gardens.
From 1 March the law will be changed to allow licensed wedding venues, such as visitor attractions and hotels, to re-open but only to perform wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.
Sport Wales will also begin making arrangements for athletes to resume training and playing.
The Welsh government also said, with more people living and working in older people’s care homes being vaccinated, it will look again at its guidance for care home visiting.
First minister Mark Drakeford said: “I know the last few months of lockdown have been a huge challenge for so many of us, but I want to thank everyone for the way we have worked together as a team to drive infection rates down.
“As coronavirus cases fall, and our successful vaccination programme protects more people every day, there are reasons to be optimistic. Our youngest learners will begin going back to school from 22 February and, if the situation continues to improve over the next three weeks, we hope more primary school children and older students will be able to return from 15 March.
“We are also able to make some very modest changes to the regulations from 20 February as we take some very cautious steps to relax some of the strictest lockdown restrictions we have all been living with for so long.
“We are seeing encouraging green shoots as we move into spring, with better weather and brighter days ahead, coronavirus cases falling and our amazing vaccine roll-out continuing at pace. We have seen, however, time and again the world over, just how quickly the situation can deteriorate in a matter of weeks. But, if we work together to keep Wales safe, we will see more elements of normal life returning.”
The next three-week review of the regulations will consider the restrictions around non-essential retail and close contact services.