Any further major easing of restrictions likely to be halted in Wales due to Delta variant concerns
Any further major easing of restrictions are likely to be halted in Wales due to concerns about the rose of the Delta variant.
On June 4 the First Minister had announced a two-phased approach to reaching the final Alert Level One easing of restrictions, with the announcement on indoor restrictions due to be made tomorrow.
However, government sources are now suggesting that the easing of restrictions may be delayed further as the number of Delta variant cases in Wales rise. Some very minor changes may go ahead. There are now 488 cases in Wales.
Cabinet ministers met to discuss a further easing on Wednesday.
Two weeks ago Mark Drakeford had warned that the Delta variant “adds a new level of uncertainty and complexity.”
He said then that the two-week extra delay in the shift to Alert Level One would give them time to vaccinate more people allowing a “further significant defence” against the Delta variant.
“It’s a genuine investment in making sure everything we’ve done together isn’t put at risk,” he said. “If we’re in a place in two weeks where we better understand the variant and it is not affecting us here in Wales we will look at lifting restrictions inside as well.”
At the time the UK Government were expected to lift all restrictions in England by next Monday, 21 June. But this has now also been delayed by a month.
In response to reports of a delay to easing restrictions, the Welsh Conservatives said: “This does not come as a surprise, particularly in light of the concerns over the delta variant.
“However, I hope Labour ministers are giving consideration to easing some of the restrictions on major life events such as weddings and funerals, which thanks to the fantastic vaccination scheme, could be afforded some flexibility.
“And in light of the ongoing restrictions, it’s clear businesses will also require more financial support and the First Minister should make clear what additional funding his government will provide to protect Welsh jobs.”