THE Welsh Government's health minister believes some Covid measures must remain in law because guidance is more difficult to police.

Most of the nation's Covid rules have been scrapped, with one major exception.

It is still a legal requirement for people to wear face masks in health and care settings.

When asked why Wales had not repealed its remaining Covid laws and instead issued guidance, health minister Eluned Morgan said "it's very clear that guidance is not as strong as enforcement in law" and "it is much easier for people to police that if they've got the force of law behind them".

The Welsh Conservatives have called for the government to soften its approach.

Shadow health minister Russell George said rules on masks in health and social care settings "should not be part of emergency law" and "should be repealed given the stable situation we are now in".

He also asked for how much longer ministers would continue their three-week reviews of the Covid rules in Wales and hold televised press conferences. No major changes have been announced in Wales for several weeks.

"When can we expect the regular statements, the three-weekly statements, to come to an end given the situation that we're now in?" he asked.


Ms Morgan said the rule reviews would continue "because we still have a piece of legislation that is Covid-related, and that 21-day review will continue whilst that legal restriction is in place".

That means Mark Drakeford and his cabinet may well be making their regular press conference appearances - a fixture throughout the pandemic - for some time to come.

What's the current Covid situation in Wales?

Ms Morgan said around one in 25 people in Wales currently have Covid, and there are still around 1,064 coronavirus-related patients in hospital - down 11 per cent from last week.

But the pandemic continues to put pressure on wider health and care services, including "high levels of staff absence" and the need to keep in place infection control measures.

"With this in mind, and on the advice of the chief medical officer and technical advisory cell, cabinet [members] have made the decision to retain the last remaining legal restriction, that being the requirement for face coverings in indoor public areas of health and social care settings, for a further three weeks," the health minister said.

She added: "it is important that we recognise that Covid-19 has not gone away, and will remain with us globally. As the current wave of infection hopefully subsides, we must prepare for future waves.

"We can't assume that future variants will be the same as Omicron. We could see a more harmful variant in the future. We must also be mindful that the return to more normal population mixing will result in the spread of other seasonal respiratory infections, including flu."