COVID-19: First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford to announce changes to coronavirus restrictions today

Wales is set to announce further easing of coronavirus restrictions today, which could bring it in line with England removing nearly all measures from 19 July.

First Minister Mark Drakeford will "set out any changes to the existing restrictions" at around midday, he announced in a tweet on Monday.

"Please note any changes announced by Boris Johnson apply to England only – decision on COVID rules for Wales are made in Wales," he wrote earlier in the week.

On Monday new Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that all remaining restrictions on social contact will lift in England as planned on 19 July.

This means face masks are no longer compulsory, although wearing them will remain a condition of using public transport in London.

People are no longer required to practise social distancing or work from home.

It will also see nightclubs reopen and people allowed to meet as many people as they want both indoors and outdoors, without having to ‘check in’ to venues with the NHS COVID-19 app.

Currently in Wales:

  • You can only meet in groups of six in indoor venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars
  • You are not allowed anyone in your home outside a three-household bubble
  • You can only meet in groups of 30 outdoors
  • Outdoor events are allowed with up to 10,000 people seated or 4,000 people standing
  • Guests at weddings, funerals and wakes are limited depending on venue size
  • Face masks and social distancing outside of your household is compulsory
  • You should work from home if you can
  • You should minimise travel to areas with high coronavirus cases
  • Nightclubs and ice-skating rinks are closed
  • All other hospitality, leisure, education and holiday venues are open
  • International travel is allowed

In England from 19 July, none of the restrictions in place in Wales will apply in England, leaving people to mix freely.

People who are not fully-vaccinated and either contract COVID or come into close contact with someone who has will still be required to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

But those who have had two jabs, or are under-18, will no longer have to isolate from 16 August.

The Welsh first minister’s announcement could see Wales fall in line with England, with nearly all COVID measures removed from the third week of July.

But Mr Drakeford has already said that face masks will still be mandatory until "COVID is no longer a public health threat".

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Doctors have criticised the relaxation of restrictions in England as "irresponsible and frankly perilous", claiming that some intensive care wards are already back at near-full capacity and admissions are spiralling despite the vaccine rollout.

So this could lead the devolved nations, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to hold off on easing restrictions until later this summer.

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said of the decision in England: "The BMA has repeatedly warned of the rapidly rising infection rate and the crippling impact that COVID-related hospitalisations continue to have on the NHS.

"Not only pushing staff to the brink of collapse but also driving up already lengthy waiting times for elective care.

"The prime minister repeatedly emphasised the importance of a slow and cautious approach.

"But in reality the government is throwing caution to the wind by scrapping all regulations in one fell swoop – with potentially devastating consequences."

You can watch Mark Drakeford’s coronavirus announcement live on Sky News from 12pm, or follow our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates.

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