Posted: Fri 12th Feb 2021

First Minister: “We can see a pathway into the spring in which we will be able to restore freedoms”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Feb 12th, 2021


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First Minister Mark Drakeford has said if Covid infection rates continue to fall across Wales, then “we can see a pathway into the spring in which we will be able to restore freedoms.”

Mr Drakeford told BBC Breakfast this morning that it “might be possible around the Easter period” to cautiously lift restrictions and open up parts of the tourism industry.

Key to lifting any of the current restrictions is the vaccine roll out, Wales will become the first UK nation to hit a major milestone by offering everyone in the first four priority groups a Covid jab.

The latest available figures show 684,097 people have received their first dose of the vaccine, 21 percent of the population of Wales.

Mr Drakeford said there are “740,000 people in Wales in the four groups, 689,000 of them had already been vaccinated by the end of Wednesday. We expect when we add yesterday’s figures to go well past the 700,000 barrier today.”

“And we know that all of those who are yet to be vaccinated will have had invitations to come in, by the end of today, or at the very latest over the weekend.”

Wales is currently at Alert level 4, the highest level of restrictions, all non-essential retail, close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres have been closed since Christmas.

Given the success of the vaccine roll out, Mr Drakeford was asked by BBC Breakfast when he expects restrictions to be lifted, he said: “Here in Wales numbers of people infected with coronavirus continue to go down.”

“If that can be sustained over the weeks to come, then we can see a pathway into the spring in which we will be able to restore freedoms to people that they’ve had to go without while we’ve been in this second wave.”

“But that is a very big if, because there are so many unknowns, new variants that are happening in different parts of the world that could make a difference here in the United Kingdom.”

“With vaccination and with numbers falling, provided we reopen society, carefully and cautiously and don’t allow the virus to get away from us again, we can see a path into the spring where it will be possible for us to go back to doing some other things that we’re all missing so much.”

Asked about any specific dates, Mr Drakeford said: “We have got Easter at the beginning of April this year.”

“It’s always a very important moment for our tourism and hospitality industry.”

“We are talking with them about what might be possible around the Easter period, but it is all very much caveated that current progress that is being made now can continue and that in a careful and cautious way we look to reopen things.”

“Those are amongst the dates that we are using in our conversations with businesses and workers here in Wales.”

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