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Wales’ lockdown lifting could be staggered due to concerns over third wave and travel from England

11 Mar 2021 2 minute read
Mark Drakeford the First Minister of Wales. Picture by the Welsh Government

The easing of Wales’ lockdown restrictions could be staggered over the next few weeks due to fears that unlocking too soon could lead to a third wave and unnecessary cross-border travel with England.

Despite cases being lower in Wales, there is concern that opening too quickly could lead to an influx from England where the ‘stay at home’ message will remain in place in England until March 29.

This could lead to a staggered approach to re-opening retail, according to the Daily Post. That could disappoint some businesses who had been briefed that non-essential retail was opening on Monday.

The Welsh Government’s scientific advisors have also said that the lockdown should be eased slowly to avoid a third wave in the summer.

A rush to return to school, as well as non-essential shops reopening, could lead to a larger third wave of cases, according to the report, which was published last month but made public on Thursday.

If lockdown is eased too quickly “here may be a resurgence of the virus around May-June time, especially if the new variant adds around an initial 0.6 to the R number”.

Wales could see up to 3,500 more deaths if there is a third wave, the report said.

The First Minister will confirm the final details at a press conference at 12.15pm after meeting his Cabinet today. The Welsh government is expected to announce a “stay local” rule on Friday.

Mark Drakeford has already said that he will set out a timetable for unlocking Wales that stretches until mid-April.

“What I want to do on Friday is to give a timetable for the next three weeks, but more than that as well to say something about what we can expect over Easter and into mid-April,” he told S4C.

“Further than that, I think it’s impossible to say for certain as it depends on the context at that time. But I want to give people more certainty that in their lives, their businesses, and to do that not just for the next three weeks but on to mid-April.”

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