Wales moves to ‘alert level zero’ and new self-isolation rules come into force today
Coronavirus restrictions brought in to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant in Wales have come to end this morning.
Measures imposed on the hospitality industry and businesses have been lifted as of 6am today.
Also from today, people who test positive for Covid-19 will be able to leave self-isolation after five full days if they have two negative lateral flow tests.
Wales has passed the peak of the Omicron wave but “the pandemic is not over yet” first minister Mark Drakeford has said.
The move to alert level zero completes the Welsh Government’s phased lifting of the alert level two protections, which were put in place on Boxing Day to keep Wales safe as the omicron wave swept across the country.
Some important protections will remain in place in Wales at alert level zero, including mandatory face coverings in most indoor public places, including on public transport.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the relaxation of protections was possible “thanks to the hard work of everyone in Wales and the success of the vaccination programme – more than 1.8m booster doses have been given.”
“And, since the start of December, more than 36,000 people have come forward to have their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.” He said.
Self Isolation changes
Changes to self-isolation rules mean that everyone has to complete five full days in isolation if you test positive for Covid.
You can take a lateral flow test on day five and again on day six.
If both are negative you can end isolation.
If you test positive on either day five or six you must continue to self-isolate until you have two negative tests taken 24 hours apart or until day 10 – whichever comes first.
If you are 18 and over, and not fully vaccinated, you must self-isolate from the day you were last in contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 and for the next 10 days.
The changes are being made after a thorough examination of the evidence from Public Health Wales and bring Wales into line with changes made elsewhere in the UK.
“A shorter self-isolation period will support public services and businesses by reducing pressures on the workforce through Covid-related staff absences.”Health minister Eluned Morgan said.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We have passed the peak of this omicron wave and there are encouraging signs that cases of coronavirus may be starting to stabilise. But we all need to continue taking steps to stay safe – unfortunately the pandemic is not over yet.
“We are moving to alert level zero and we will retain some important protections, such as face coverings in most indoor public places and risk assessments.
“We can do this thanks to the hard work and efforts of everyone in Wales and the remarkable success of our vaccine and booster programmes. Thank you all.”
On Friday 28 January, Wales will complete the move to alert level zero. This means:
- Nightclubs can re-open.
- The general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces will be removed.
- The rule of six will no longer apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.
- Licensed premises will no longer need to only provide table service and collect contact details. The Covid Pass will continue to be required to enter larger indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
- Working from home will remain important but it will no longer be a legal requirement.
- Businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus, which may include 2m social distancing or controlled entry.
Face-covering rules, which apply on public transport and in most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January, with the exception of hospitality settings such as restaurants, pubs, cafes and nightclubs.
Everyone must also continue to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus but the Welsh Government has reduced the self-isolation period from seven to five full days.
People are advised to take two negative lateral flow tests 24 hours apart on days five and six. The self-isolation support scheme payment will return to the original rate of £500 for all those who are eligible.
The next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 10 February, when all the measures at alert level zero will be reviewed.
Full details on self isolation rules can be found here: https://gov.wales/self-isolation
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