CORONAVIRUS cases have been rising across the UK, with case rates reaching their highest levels in Wales on Wednesday.

The spread of the Omicron variant has led to the different UK nations taking different approaches with restrictions.

And on Wednesday, UK health secretary Sajid Javid criticised the restrictions in Wales, saying he “cannot see how restricting outdoor exercise is justified or proportionate” after Parkrun cancelled its events in Wales because of restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Here is a breakdown of the rules on either side of the Severn Bridge.

The rules in Wales

From Boxing Day, the following rules came in to effect in Wales:

  • Two-metre social distancing is required in offices and all public premises;
  • Face coverings are required in hospitality settings at all times apart from when seated, and are mandatory on public transport;
  • A maximum of six people can meet in public premises;
  • Licenced premises need to take additional reasonable measures to protect customers and staff;
  • A maximum of 30 people can attend indoor events and a maximum of 50 people at outdoor events. There is an exception for events involving children;
  • People attending weddings or civil partnership receptions or wakes should take a lateral flow test before attending. The number of guests allowed will depend on the size of the venue and its ability to allow for social distancing;
  • Nightclubs have been closed;
  • Close contacts of people who have Covid do not need to self-isolate provided they have been fully vaccinated. For people who have not been doubly vaccinated and identify as a close contact, they must still self-isolate for 10 days;
  • People must work from home if possible, with workers and businesses who do not follow this liable to be fined.

The Welsh Government announced it would move to a weekly review of Covid restrictions earlier this month. The latest review is currently being discussed, and the outcome of this will be announced on either Thursday or Friday.

The rules in England

  • Face coverings are compulsory in most indoor public venues, as well as on public transport and in shops. However, they are not required in pubs or restaurants;
  • An NHS covid pass is required for entry into nightclubs and other venues, such as football stadiums, theatres, or cinemas;
  • There are no restrictions on the number of people who can meet in public places, or on the number who can attend an event;
  • People have been told to work from home;
  • If you’ve tested positive for Covid or have symptoms, people in England must self-isolate for seven days – cut from 10 – for those who record a negative lateral flow test on days six and seven of their quarantine.

With nightclubs remaining open in England, prime minister Boris Johnson was asked about the possibility of people coming over the border from Wales and Scotland to England to celebrate the New Year.

“I think everybody should enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way – take a test, ventilation, think about others but, above all, get a booster,” he told PA.

These rules will not be reviewed in the coming days, with Mr Javid telling the BBC: “There will be no further measures before the new year.”