Welsh Government has published details of an updated plan to combat coronavirus.
Last week, the government announced a new tiered system, with four ‘alert levels’ introduced to control rising case numbers through the winter months.
The new coronavirus alert levels range from ‘low risk’, comparable to restrictions in place during the summer, to very ‘high risk’, which is described as “equivalent to a firebreak or full lockdown”.
The new Coronavirus Control Plan explains what the country would look like in each tier, including the rate of infection, track and trace capacity and hospital admissions.
It also indicates that national-level restrictions are preferred to local or regional approaches, like those in place in England and Scotland.
What rules would be in place and what venues, events and businesses would be required to close are also outlined.
Schools, colleges and universities would stay open in all levels, as would crematoriums, places of worship, public parks and playgrounds.
Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has said previously that Wales could be placed in a full lockdown after Christmas, with transmission rates rising in 21 of Wales’ 24 council areas.
Announcing the new plan on Monday, December 14, Mr Drakeford said the Coronavirus Control Plan “builds on the traffic-light framework of restrictions we originally put in place in May”.
He said: “The all-Wales measures are designed to be as simple, fair and clear as possible and they will provide greater certainty for people and businesses about what legal restrictions will be put in place, depending on the level of risk, helping them to plan for the future.
“Following the advice of the UK Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), our approach draws on what has worked elsewhere in the UK and draws on what we have learned over the course of this year.
“We are grateful to people and businesses across Wales for their continued efforts to tackle this virus.
“As we begin the process of rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine we can be optimistic about the future but we must continue to be cautious and take steps to control the spread of coronavirus and keep each other safe.”
Welsh Government has previously been criticised for not providing businesses with clear evidence, while it has also been accused of introducing new restrictions with limited warning and support.
Responding to the publication of the plan, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Wales Policy Chair, Ben Francis, said: “Businesses will welcome the clarity that the publication of the Coronavirus Control Plan has brought.
“The clear guidance set out in the document is very welcome and will, at least, help businesses understand what will happen, when it will take place, and when this will be reviewed.
“One vital piece of information is missing, however. We have called on Welsh Government to ease the anxiety and uncertainty felt by business owners and their staff by publishing the financial support package that would be available alongside any future set of restrictions, and this is missing from today’s announcement.
“We would urge Welsh Government to quickly reassure business owners of the financial support they will be eligible for should Wales move into Level Four.”
Hefin David, MS for Caerphilly, said: “I welcome the publication of the updated control plan.
“Knowing what comes next will provide more certainty and will help people prepare for the months ahead.
“We must remember though, that the level of restrictions we will find ourselves under in the near future is determined by the actions each of us takes today. We must stay vigilant.”
Restrictions are due to be eased in Wales for five days over the Christmas period, with the Welsh Government also expected to review current restrictions on Thursday, December 17.
Stay informed with quality, independent, local journalism…that matters
We believe the public should be informed about their community, coherently and with context. However, running a professional news service comes at a financial cost.
We are asking readers for their support to help us develop and grow our service.
Our membership costs from just £3 a month and in return, you can use our website without adverts.
Become a member – cancel anytime