WALES is set to move into its next phase of easing Covid restrictions, Mark Drakeford has announced.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the first minister confirmed that from Saturday, July 17, the nation will be fully moving into alert level one – a move which was paused four weeks ago due to concerns surrounding the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Though the changes aren’t nearly as comprehensive as neighbouring England’s upcoming “freedom day” changes, a number of existing measures are set to be eased, or removed completely.

 The key changes that will come into effect from July 17 are:

  • Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
  • Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seated and up to 200 standing
  • Ice rinks can reopen.

However, for those in industries such as nightlife, the wait for the measures in place to be removed goes on.

What’s more, those hoping for rules surrounding mask wearing indoors to be eased have been left disappointed.

Another change today which will prove popular with parents was the announcement that children in groups of 30 can now visit residential activity centres.

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The first minister has also confirmed that people who have who have been fully vaccinated in the UK will no longer need to self-isolate if they are returning from an amber list country, in line with the position in England and Scotland.

Plans are currently being made to move Wales to alert level zero on Saturday, August 7 – should these latest measures prove successful.

Should this prove to be the case, a significant number of further changes can be expected.

What has the first minister said?

In a statement, Mr Drakeford said: “We are entering a new phase of the pandemic. Cases of the virus have risen sharply since the delta variant emerged six weeks ago but, thanks to our fantastic vaccination programme, we are not seeing these translate into large numbers of people falling seriously ill or needing hospital treatment.

“We can be reasonably confident that vaccination has weakened the link between infections and serious illness. But there is still a risk that this third wave of the pandemic could cause real harm – either direct harm from the virus or indirect harm from, for example, people having to isolate

“We can move to alert level one for indoor spaces from 17 July and go further for outdoor spaces because we know the risk of transmission outdoors is lower.

“We are also publishing plans for a new alert level zero, which will have fewer legal restrictions but which will still need all of us to take steps to protect ourselves.”