Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister
The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020 place a series of restrictions on gatherings, the movement of people, and the operation of businesses. They are designed to protect people from the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Welsh Ministers were required to review the restrictions by 19 November. They must then be reviewed every two weeks up to 17 December, after which they must be reviewed every three weeks, as prior to the firebreak.
I have always been clear, we will not see the full impact of the firebreak measures until a few weeks after they ended on 9 November. Whilst there are encouraging signs the short, sharp intervention has broken chains of transmission, leading to falling numbers of positive cases, the situation in Wales remains very serious. Last week we sadly passed the sombre milestone of 3,000 deaths in Wales involving COVID19.
I therefore consider it is too early to ease any of the restrictions. This is in keeping with the careful and gradual approach we have always taken.
The package was designed to strike the right balance between protecting people’s health and providing as much freedom as possible. Overall, the regulations are designed to be clear, stable and simple to understand. For this reason I am seeking to avoid making substantial changes. Fundamentally our approach relies on all of us taking precautions and limiting our interactions with others.
I am very aware of the challenges and distress many people in Wales continue to experience as a result of the restrictions, particularly about meeting family and loved ones.
As we approach the December holiday period, families and loved ones will naturally wish to be together. The Welsh Government is engaging with other UK administrations on a joined up approach to planning for the winter holiday period, considering what we might be possible across the four-nations during this important time of the year.
I remain very grateful to people for their continued efforts to Keep Wales Safe