Six Nations confirmed: Crowds able to return to sporting events from next Friday, First Minister says
Crowds will be able to return to sporting events from next Friday, 21 January, the First Minister has confirmed.
It means that the Six Nations will be able to be played in Wales with crowds, after the WRU had explored the possibility f playing home games in England instead.
The number who can take part in an event outdoors will rise from 50 to 500 tomorrow, with limits returning to alert level 0 the week after.
The Friday after that, 28 January, will see a return to alert level 0 for all premises including nightclubs reopening. The Welsh Government will also revert to a three-week cycle of making decisions.
The vaccine pass will remain in place, Mark Drakeford said.
“We’re confident from what we’re told that we’re past the peak and coming rapidly down the other side,” Mark Drakeford said, although he added that we have seen “many surprises with Coronavirus” and that the changes would be confirmed finally next Friday.
“We’re prefiguring it today because we believe that’s the path we’re on.”
He was asked on Radio Wales whether this change of restrictions constituted an u-turn.
“This isn’t a new approach at all,” he said. “When we introduced the new restrictions our scientific advisors told us we’d need to have them in place for four weeks for them to have the effect we wanted them to have.
“That four weeks is up from Friday of next week. That is the date that we will begin to revert fully to Alert Level 0 measures.
“The modelling shows a very rapid rise in coronavirus and a very rapid fall. And that’s what we’ve seen in the last week. The model was correct – we’re seeing a rapid fall off, and providing that is sustained, it means that over the next two weeks – in that step by step, careful way – we’re able to return to a more modest level of protections that we had before the Omicron wave hit us.”
He rejected the suggestion that the restrictions put in place from Boxing Day were an overreaction.
“It is because we put those restrictions in place, and most of all, because of the fantastic way that people in Wales – while we’ve been in the grip of the Omicron wave – have acted responsibly, it’s because of that that we’re now in this more benign position,” he said.
“We’re able to lift some of those protections a bit earlier than we had anticipated because of all the hard work people in Wales have put into putting themselves and other people safe.
“It would be absolutely wonderful if we didn’t have to go through this another time. My view is that we’re still in the pandemic stage because we can’t be completely confident that another variant somewhere in the world isn’t brewing today.
“If that doesn’t happen then we are into the ‘living with it’ phase. Coronavirus hasen’t gone away. Because the numbers living with it in Wales today are still extraordinarily high. But we managed to live with it last year in the summer and into the autumn.
“Hopefully that’s the path we’re on, but we can’t guarantee it.”