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The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 require a review of the coronavirus measures to be undertaken every three weeks. The most recent three-week review was due by 20 January.
Since the emergence of the omicron variant, we have undertaken a review of the regulations every week. Coronavirus cases across Wales – measured by positive PCR tests – are relatively stable following falls in previous weeks. The latest results from the ONS Infection Survey continue to show a reduction in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus. In the week ending 22 January, 3.3% of people in Wales tested positive for coronavirus, compared to 3.7% the previous week.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital is continuing to fall, as is the number of Covid-19 related patients in critical care.
These figures suggest early signs of coronavirus cases stabilising in Wales, although we have seen some small increases in transmission among younger children and young adults as students have returned to school.
It light of the overall trends, we will complete our plan to move to alert level zero from tomorrow (28 January).
In Wales, the move to alert level zero for all indoor activities means:
Nightclubs can re-open.
The two-metre social distancing rule no longer applies to premises open to the public and workplaces.
No rule of six for gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.
Licensed premises no longer need to only provide table service and collect contact details.
Working from home is no longer a legal requirement, but is advisable where possible.
The Welsh Government has also agreed a reduction of the self-isolation period from seven days to five full days for everyone who tests positive for Covid-19. Two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart should be taken on day five and six to help determine if they are still infectious and potentially pass COVID-19 to others. In recognition of the shorter isolation period, the self-isolation support scheme payment will revert to the original rate of £500 for all those who are eligible and lose income as a result of self-isolation.
The next three-weekly review will be carried out by 10 February, when we will review all the remaining measures at alert level zero.
The remaining measures are:
Businesses, employers and other organisations must undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise exposure to, and the spread of, coronavirus and to provide related information on how to minimise risk;
Everyone must continue to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or if they are 18 or over and not fully vaccinated and a close contact of someone who has tested positive;
Adults and children aged 11 and over (unless exempt) must wear face-coverings in indoor public places, with the exception of hospitality settings such as restaurants, pubs, cafes or nightclubs;
The Covid Pass is required to enter larger indoor and outdoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
We have been able to lift these protections thanks to the efforts of everyone in Wales and our vaccination and booster campaign. Vaccination is the best form of defence against coronavirus and we continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated – whether that’s their first dose, second dose or booster. It is never too late to be vaccinated in Wales.
It is important everyone continues to follow the rules and the guidance to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Together we can keep Wales safe.