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Wales’ coronavirus restrictions will remain in place as cases of Omicron soar after Christmas, the Welsh Government has said.
Ministers have decided to keep the alert level 2 measures for at least another week following the latest regulations review.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the country is facing a “difficult month ahead” as cases, which have risen sharply to their highest ever levels, look set to surge further.
The latest figures show there are more than 2,200 cases per 100,000 people in Wales
This variant may not be as severe as we had initially feared but the speed at which it is travelling and its infectiousness continue to be cause for concern
“We are already seeing extremely high case rates in communities and we must be prepared for cases to rise even higher, just as they have elsewhere in the UK,” Mr Drakeford said.
“This variant may not be as severe as we had initially feared but the speed at which it is travelling and its infectiousness continue to be cause for concern.
“That makes it vital that we all take action to keep each other safe. The things which have helped to protect us all throughout the pandemic will continue to protect us now.
“This includes getting vaccinated and making your booster a priority, limiting the number of people you meet who you don’t live with, and taking a lateral flow test before going out and mixing with others.”
The current rules include wearing face coverings indoors, groups of not more than six people in public places such as restaurants, and working from home if you can.
Indoor events of more than 30 people or outdoors events for more than 50 people are not allowed.The Government said it is also encouraging people to take extra steps to keep safe including limiting the number of people they meet who they do not live with, to flow before you go, and meeting people outdoors wherever possible or in well-ventilated spaces.
Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate for seven days. They should then take a lateral flow test on day six and day seven. If either test is positive they should remain in isolation until two negative lateral flow tests or after day 10, whichever is sooner.
Confirmatory PCR tests for asymptomatic Covid sufferers have been scrapped from Thursday, health minister Eluned Morgan announced this week.
Unvaccinated contacts of positive cases who are self-isolating for 10 days will now be asked to take a lateral flow test on day two and eight instead of a PCR test.
PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers and under 18s will also end between January 7 and 9 bringing the country in line with the rest of the UK.
People will instead need to take a lateral flow test (LFD) on day two and, if positive, a follow-up PCR test to enable genomic sequencing to be carried out.
There will also be no need to self-isolate until a negative test has been received.
The requirements for non-vaccinated travellers remain unchanged.
Mr Drakeford will be holding a press conference just after midday on Friday (January 7).