Wales is to remain in lockdown, with schools and non-essential retail closed, until at least the end of this month, the Welsh Government has said.
In a statement, it said that unless there is a “significant reduction” in cases of coronavirus before January 29 – the date of the next three-week review of the regulations – school and college students will continue to learn online until the February half-term.
Wales entered its lockdown on December 20 at ‘alert level four’ and following a review by the Welsh Government, this is to remain.
This means non-essential retail, hospitality venues, licensed premises and leisure facilities will remain closed. All showrooms will also now close as well. Shops can still operate click and collect schemes for online orders.
The Welsh Government is also reviewing whether major supermarkets and retailers need to put additional measures in place to protect shoppers and what else employers need to do to protect people in the workplace and support people to work from home.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coronavirus pandemic has reached a significant point. Cases in Wales remain very high and our NHS is under real and sustained pressure.
“The alert level four restrictions we introduced before Christmas must remain in place to keep us all safe. To slow the spread of the virus, we all must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“These feel like dark times but the new Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out across Wales, giving us a path out of this pandemic.
“It will take a huge effort to vaccinate everyone and, despite the end of this pandemic being in sight, it is more important than ever that we follow the rules and stay at home. We have made so many sacrifices together and we mustn’t stop now.”
The Welsh Government said cases of coronavirus remain very high in Wales and the new variant strain of the virus – first identified in parts of Wales, London and South East England before Christmas – now has a “firm foothold in North Wales”.
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What are the level 4 restrictions?
The level four restrictions are the most severe alert level in the Welsh Government’s Coronavirus Control Plan.
It mirrors restrictions implemented during Wales’ ‘fire break’ in October and November, and the first lockdown in March and April.
Non-essential businesses including retail, leisure facilities and gyms will be required to close.
All hospitality including pubs, restaurants and accommodation providers will required to close.
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