COVID-19: Wales eases restrictions again - but full unlocking still weeks away despite lowest case rate in UK

·2-min read

Wales has further eased coronavirus restrictions, with up to six people now allowed to meet inside homes or holiday accommodation.

Saturday's move to level 1 also means organised indoor events for up to 1,000 people seated or 200 standing can take place.

Legal restrictions on the number who can gather outdoors have also been lifted, and up to 30 children from organisations such as the Brownies and Scouts can attend residential centres over the summer.

Ice rinks can also reopen.

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Employers, meanwhile, will be ordered to provide staff with comprehensive information on their COVID risk assessment and mitigation measures.

The UK nations make their own decision on coronavirus restrictions and Wales will progress to level 0 on 7 August if conditions allow.

It would mean life returning "very substantially to how it was before the coronavirus pandemic", according to First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Limits on group sizes indoors and outside will end, and all businesses - including nightclubs - can reopen.

But unlike England's final step out of lockdown plan, which takes effect on 19 July, the advice to work from home "wherever possible" will remain and face coverings will still be a legal requirement indoors - apart from in hospitality premises.

Wales has the lowest coronavirus rate of the UK nations, according to the latest Office for National Statistics survey, with 1 in 360 people believed to have been infected at the end of last week.

Its vaccination rate is also one of the highest in the world - 75% of adults are fully vaccinated and 90% have had at least one dose.

Despite that success, the first minister said this week that "there is still a risk that this third wave of the pandemic could cause real harm".

Across the UK cases have risen significantly in recent weeks, with nearly 52,000 reported on Friday - two days before most remaining rules in England will end.

Scotland's lockdown restrictions are also easing from Monday as it moves to level 0, but the changes are less dramatic than in England.

For example, one-metre social distancing will still be necessary, face masks will remain mandatory, limits on indoor mixing are also staying and nightclubs still have to stay shut.

Northern Ireland's COVID rules are set to change on 26 July but it is keeping similar restrictions as Scotland.

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