FIRST Minister Mark Drakeford hopes Wales can return to in the near future to a level of coronavirus restrictions as was seen across the country last summer.

Asked what the "new normal" could be in the short term for Wales, he said he wanted to return to the situation seen in July and August of last year.

Mr Drakeford said: "We were still social distancing, we were still being asked to wear masks on public transport and in crowded places, but we were able to travel, restaurants were open, and people could go on holiday."

The First Minister was speaking at the Welsh Government's coronavirus briefing this afternoon when he was asked what the next few months could hold for Wales.

This morning, Mr Drakeford spoke about a "path into the spring" where it will be possible to ease some lockdown measures.

Asked what that could look like, he said: "Provided we continue to see levels of infection fall in Wales, that we see the impact on our health service being drained away, and we see our vaccination programme delivering what we hope it will in terms of the protection it will offer to people - if that is the path we are on, then we will be able to safely and cautiously lift the restrictions that are in place.

"That will include the tourism industry, and those aspects of family life which are to all of us at the moment."


He added: "Coronavirus is going to be with us for months to come. It is going to be a long goodbye.

"Even when it is in the rear view mirror we are going to need to go on being careful about the way we live our daily lives, but if we can get to the place we were in in July and August last year, and get their more quickly, I think people will notice the difference in their lives.

"And I think they will be prepared to go on doing the small things that we all can do because they do make a significant difference.

"Coronavirus continues to have very unpleasant surprises up its sleeve.

"We in the Welsh Government will remain alert to any of those changes, but we are planning on the basis that things will improve because they have improved so significantly since the start of the new year."