WALES has entered the "final lap" of emerging from the coronavirus pandemic according to an optimistic Mark Drakeford.

The first minister has said people can be confident that Wales is on the “final lap of emerging from the pandemic”, provided further “unexpected turns” do not happen.

However, he stressed that caution should not be thrown to the wind just yet.

“We cannot possibly make the assumption that the virus might not yet have further unpleasant surprises for us,” he said.

Mr Drakeford was speaking on behalf of the Welsh Government at the coronavirus update briefing held earlier today.


“That’s been the history of the 18 months,"he said.

"Were a new variant to emerge, or the virus take a turn in which vaccination were less effective than we have it today, then inevitably we would have to face the consequences of that and take measures to address it.

“While things remain as they are, while we all go on making the contribution we can, I think we can have some confidence that today’s latest steps out of coronavirus put us on that path beyond this and into the future.”

Mr Drakeford said that Wales would "hopefully" not be in the position in future to reimpose restrictions.

"I don't anticipate us being back to that position, because vaccination has altered the relationship between falling ill and hospitilisation," he said.

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"We will be watching for new variants, the time that vaccination protection lasts - and we will have a booster campaign in autumn, particularly for our most vulnerable - we will be looking at positivity rates, and the impact on the health service.

"If we needed to go back to more measures it would becasue we made a judgement in the round that those measures were needed to protect people in Wales.

"But hopefully we will not need to do that. The gains that we have made for more than six months now, gradually, we will be able to sustain that in to the autumn and beyond."