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Wales scraps ALL Covid curbs in two weeks after claims it overreacted to Omicron

The Welsh government is set to scrap all Covid cores within two weeks as it plans to reopen clubs, end the six-in-pubs rule and lift the 50-person restriction on outdoor events.

Mark Drakeford will draw up a plan for Wales to move from alert level two to alert level zero by the end of January if the public health situation continues to improve.

The restrictions on outdoor activities are first relaxed before gradually expanding to other rules introduced on Boxing Day.

Current measures allow a maximum of six people to gather in pubs, restaurants and cinemas, outdoor events limited to 50 people and 30 indoors.

Rules also include the wearing of masks in all public places, the two meter rule and the rule of six in catering establishments. Nightclubs have been forced to close.

The prime minister will hold a press conference at 12.15 p.m. Friday to announce the two-week roadmap following a review of the rules.

This morning, he said the move comes amid a rapid decline in the number of cases, adding: “It looks like we’ve passed Omicron’s peak.”

The number of coronavirus cases in Wales recently fell to 1,492.4 per 100,000 people over seven days – the lowest level since December 27.

The total number of people admitted to intensive care with the virus is also 20 percent of the number registered over the same period in January last year.

It follows Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, who accuses the Welsh government of ‘overreacting’ to the coronavirus variant.

Responding to Drakeford’s latest roadmap, the Welsh Conservatives said they are pleased he has “finally listened to the calls” to lift the restrictions.

Official data up to January 5 shows the number of Covid cases per 100,000 people is declining in England, Scotland and Wales

Official data up to January 5 shows the number of Covid cases per 100,000 people is declining in England, Scotland and Wales

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured Dec. 22) will hold a press conference at noon on Friday to announce the two-week roadmap following a rule review

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured Dec. 22) will hold a press conference at noon on Friday to announce the two-week roadmap following a rule review

What are the Covid restrictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

SCOTLAND

Large events are limited to 11 people inside, 200 people inside and 500 people outside.

Allowing employees to work from home as much as possible has become a legal obligation for employers.

Persons 12 years and older should wear face coverings in indoor environments such as retail stores, hospitality venues and public transportation. People should also wear masks in crowded outdoor areas.

Nicola Sturgeon has said restrictions on outdoor events will be lifted next Monday.

She added that all measures, including closing nightclubs, could be lifted from January 24.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, said nightclubs will be closed from 6am on December 26.

Dancing is also prohibited in catering establishments, but this does not apply to weddings.

People must remain seated for table service, while the number of tables is limited to six.

Prime Minister Paul Givan has said the Stormont Executive could lift some restrictions next week.

Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘As the data and science tell us – as the models we have predicted in Wales – we seem to have passed the top of Omicron and are coming down the other side very quickly.

“That gives us confidence that over the next two weeks we can gradually and cautiously increase the level of protection we needed over the Christmas period, because from a public health point of view it is then safe to do so.”

Wales has previously been criticized for imposing much stricter restrictions than England during the festive period.

UKHospitality Cymru had warned that hospitality businesses in Wales were already ‘battered and bruised’ by a slump in customer numbers and said the new rules will ‘just make things worse’.

The Welsh Conservatives leader, Mr Davies, added: ‘The Labor ministers have clearly overreacted to Omicron, which has caused much pain and suffering for families and businesses in Wales.

“Unfortunately, Labor has left Wales as an outlier in the UK with the strictest restrictions on sport, outdoor activities and hospitality.”

Bur Drakeford denied that the measures entailed huge costs to Welsh trade and hospitality, instead blaming the impact of the Omicron wave.

He criticized England’s relaxed restrictions, saying they had left “thousands and thousands” of people unable to do their jobs due to illness.

He said: ‘The government in England has been paralyzed during this process and has simply been unable to make decisions.

“In Wales, we have a government that is willing to do difficult things if it is necessary to protect public health.”

The easing of restrictions on outdoor activities could mean Six Nations Rugby matches, which start next month, could continue in the country.

Pressure from sports organizations and fans mounted and many feared matches would have to be held across the border in England.

In a statement released last night, the Welsh Government said: ‘The Prime Minister will set out tomorrow how Wales plans to go back to alert level zero if the public health situation continues to improve.

Mark Drakeford will outline the two-week plan at his press conference to ease the warning level two restrictions in place since Boxing Day.

“Thanks to the support of people across Wales and the successful booster campaign, the Welsh Government can begin to remove the protections put in place in response to the Omicron wave.” More than 1.75 million people have received the extra booster dose.’

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland has said restrictions on outdoor events will be lifted next Monday.

She added that all measures, including closing nightclubs, could be lifted from January 24.

And in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Paul Givan has said the Stormont Executive could begin lifting some coronavirus restrictions next week.

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