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Wales speeds up lifting of COVID lockdown restrictions once again

Wales is again speeding up the lifting of COVID lockdown restrictions by bringing forward further reopenings by two weeks.

The Welsh government will allow more relaxations on 3 May than it had initially planned.

This includes the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the reopening of community centres.

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First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford
Image: Mark Drakeford said the ‘sacrifices we have made continue to show results’

Previously, these steps in the Welsh plan for easing restrictions had not been due until 17 May.

This means Wales will have completed the move from “Alert Level 4”- equivalent to a full lockdown – to “Alert Level 3” by 3 May, which is two weeks earlier than first planned.

Earlier this month, First Minister Mark Drakeford had already announced an acceleration in the easing of some coronavirus restrictions following “improvements” in infection rates.

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On Saturday, a “rule of six” in Wales will allow up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.

The Welsh government has also confirmed pubs, restaurants and cafes will reopen outdoors from Monday.

Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will also be allowed to reopen next week.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Drakeford said the country’s vaccination programme and falling case numbers “has created some extra headroom for us to be able to bring forward some of the easing of the restrictions”.

“Our chief medical officer and our chief scientific advisers have given us the go ahead to move those things forward and that’s what I’ll be announcing today,” he said.

Mr Drakeford added there are a “relatively small number” of cases of the Indian variant in Wales, but “we don’t think there is any reason for us to be alarmed at the current number that we are aware of”.

The lifting of further restrictions will be for the next Welsh government – after next month’s elections – to decide at the next three-week review on 13 May.

“It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions,” Mr Drakeford said in separate comments to his Sky News interview.