Wales to scrap ALL Covid curbs in two weeks after claims it over-reacted to Omicron

What is alert level zero?

Wales moved to alert level zero on August 7 last year.

During that period, there were no restrictions on the number of people who could meet, and all businesses could remain open.

Some rules have been kept legally in effect, including companies and employers conducting a specific coronavirus risk assessment, a 10-day isolation period for anyone who has tested positive for Covid, and people aged 11 or over having to wear face coverings in some Indoors – except for restaurants, bars, cafes or nightclubs.

The period of self-isolation has since been reduced to seven days in Wales.

It is not yet known whether the zero alert level measures this month will be the same as those for August.

Mark Drakeford confirmed today that all major coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in Wales within two weeks as he faced accusations of “overreacting” to the Omicron wave.

The Welsh government will reopen nightclubs, end the rule of six in pubs and raise the 50-person limit for outdoor events.

Mr Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, had warned just a week earlier on 7 January that Storm Omicron was “completely upon us” as he predicted the peak would not reach for “another 10 to 14 days”.

He also criticized Boris Johnson’s decision not to impose similarly strict restrictions in England as he described the neighboring country as “outside”.

But speaking this morning, Mr Drakeford said case numbers were now “dropping very quickly” as he dismissed accusations of diversion.

He also denied allegations that his restrictions had caused serious damage to Welsh hospitality companies, saying: “The impact on Welsh companies does not come from the actions of the government, but rather from the massive impact of the Omicron wave that we have seen. “

Mr Drakeford will use a lunchtime press conference to outline his plan for Wales to move from alert level two to alert level zero by the end of January if the public health situation continues to improve.

Restrictions on outdoor activities will be eased first before moving on to other rules that were imposed on Boxing Day.

Under current measures, the rule of six applies to bars, restaurants and cinemas, while outdoor events are limited to 50 people and 30 indoors.

The restrictions also include the wearing of masks in all public places and the two-meter rule while nightclubs have had to close.

Speaking this morning, Mr Drakeford said: “It appears we have passed the Omicron peak.”

The rate of coronavirus infection in Wales recently fell to 1492.4 per 100,000 people over seven days – its lowest level since December 27.

The total number of people admitted to critical care with the virus was 20 percent of the number recorded during the same period in January last year.

Drakeford is under mounting political pressure to roll back his restrictions, with Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies accusing his Labor counterpart of “overreacting” to O’Mikron.

In response to Mr Drakeford’s latest announcement, Welsh Conservatives said they were glad he had “finally heard the calls” to lift restrictions.

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured on December 22nd) will hold a midday press conference on Friday to announce the two-week roadmap following a revision of the rules.

Official data up to January 5 shows the number of Covid cases per 100,000 people is declining in England, Scotland and Wales

Official data up to January 5 shows the number of Covid cases per 100,000 people is declining in England, Scotland and Wales

What are the Covid restrictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Scotland

Large events are limited to 11 people standing indoors, 200 people seated indoors, and 500 people outdoors.

Allowing employees to work from home wherever possible has become a legal duty for employers.

Persons 12 years of age or older must wear face coverings indoors such as shops, hospitality venues and public transportation. People should also wear masks in crowded areas outdoors.

Nicola Sturgeon said restrictions on outside events will be lifted next Monday.

It added that all measures, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from January 24.

northern Ireland

Michelle O’Neill, Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland, said nightclubs would close from 6am on December 26.

Dancing is also prohibited in hospitality venues, but this will not apply to weddings.

People must remain seated for table service, while table numbers will be limited to six.

First Minister Paul Gevan said the Stormont executive may begin lifting some restrictions as early as next week.

Drakeford said at a news conference last Friday that Wales was hit by a “storm” of Omicron.

The alternative, he said, is now “the dominant form of the virus in the country and cases are rising rapidly every day.”

“Unlike previous waves that lasted several months, we believe this wave will not last long,” he said.

This is because of the speed with which the Omicron moves. We haven’t reached the peak of this wave yet. This may be another 10 to 14 days away.

But Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning that Wales had now passed its peak omicron infection level.

When asked why the restrictions are now lifted, he said: “As the data and science tell us that according to the modeling we had predicted in Wales, we seem to have passed one Omicron peak and are going down very quickly on the other. the side.

“This gives us confidence that over the next two weeks we can gradually and carefully raise the level of protection we needed over the Christmas and New Year period because from a public health perspective it would be safe to do so.”

When asked if the strict rules in Wales were really necessary, and told he seemed to change his mind very quickly, he said: “I said last Friday that it would take another two weeks before we could get out of this wave and it is. In two weeks we will have lifted the restrictions.

What we are seeing is a very rapid decline in the number of cases in Wales.

Last Friday it was 2,300 per 100,000 Welsh residents, and today just a week later it was 1,200 – a really fast drop, bolstered by other measures we’re seeing in Wales.

“It gives us space to be able to lift some of the protections that we had, and because of that protection we’re in a much milder position that we are in today.”

The imposition of new rules on socializing in Wales after Christmas has sparked an angry response from pubs, bars and restaurants.

UKH Hospitality Cymru warned that companies were already “battered, bruised and at the end of their restrictions” due to the collapse in customer numbers and said the latest rules would “only make matters worse”.

But Drakeford today dismissed the suggestion that the rules came at a heavy cost to companies.

He said: “The impact on business in Wales does not come from the actions of the government, it comes from the massive impact of the Omicron wave that we saw.”

It was pointed out to Mr Drakeford that Mr Johnson had opted for a more relaxed approach in England and Wales who would likely have done the same.

But he said: “The government of England was paralyzed in the process and simply not able to make decisions.”

Finally, Mr. Drakeford has been told that he appears to be making a drastic change under pressure – a suggestion he rejects.

He said: Not at all. It really is the opposite. What we do in Wales is we follow the science, we follow the data, we make hard decisions when it’s necessary, and because of those hard decisions, and most of all, because of the wonderful way people in Wales have followed that advice, stuck with the hard stuff, we are now able Draw a path out of this and back to level zero.

The Welsh Conservative leader, Mr Davies, said: “I am delighted that they have finally heard calls from the Welsh Conservatives.

Despite detailed scientific evidence from South Africa, it is clear that labor ministers have overreacted to Omicron, causing great pain and suffering to families and businesses in Wales.

Britain’s consolidation campaign has been a resounding success and as such Labor must now act quickly and remove restrictions while we are on the road to recovery and as a nation learning to live with Covid.

The easing of restrictions on outdoor activities should mean that the six rugby matches, due to start next month, can continue in the country.

Pressure was mounting from sports organizations and fans, with many matches to be played across the border in England feared.

In a statement issued last night, the Welsh government said: “The First Minister will determine tomorrow how Wales plans to return to zero alert level if the public health situation continues to improve.

Mark Drakeford will lay out a two-week plan to ease the second alert level of restrictions that have been in place since Boxing Day at his press conference.

“The Welsh government is able to begin removing the protection put in place in response to the Omicron wave, thanks to the support of people across Wales and a successful booster campaign – more than 1.75 million people received an additional booster dose.”

Meanwhile in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said restrictions on outside events would be lifted next Monday.

It added that all measures, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from January 24.

And in Northern Ireland, First Minister Paul Gevan said the CEO of Stormont could begin lifting some coronavirus restrictions as early as next week.

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