FM: 'More headroom' to lift restrictions if Covid rate continues to fall

First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that if the number of people carrying coronavirus continues to fall, there will be, "further headroom" to lift restrictions in Wales at the end of next week.

Speaking at the Welsh Government's daily briefing, the First Minister said that when lockdown restrictions were initially eased, there were around 100 people contracting the virus each day.

Mr Drakeford said that number has fallen even further, to an average of 15 new cases being reported everyday.

However, the First Minister was quick to stress the importance of maintaining social distancing for the time being.

"Because the number of new cases is falling, so the risk of meeting somebody with the disease and being infected by it is falling as well."

"Now of course, as we don't know who has the disease, and because you can be suffering from coronavirus and not know that this is happening, it remains vitally important that we maintain social distancing and all those other protections which reduce the risk of coming infected."

When asked whether Wales could see its pubs and bars begin to reopen after the next review, the First Minister did not completely rule the idea out, but said he certainly "couldn't make any promises".

Mr Drakeford said, that the Welsh Government must, "Look at a long list of ideas this week, and reduce that list to the short list of the most possible ideas, which we then look at in greater detail next week."

"This will be on the list, with many other things. Whether it will be possible to do something at the end of this three-week cycle, I certainly can't make any promises about that, because there are many, many other requests that are being made of us."

The First Minister also urged people to download and use the ZOE app which helps track coronavirus symptoms.

Developed by King’s College London and healthcare science company, ZOE, data from the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker has been helping the Welsh Government and NHS Wales to track outbreaks of coronavirus in Wales.

Mark Drakeford said, "About 70,000 people are using this app in Wales every day – including me."

"It takes a couple of seconds to log your symptoms every day and it really helps us understand what’s going on. But we need people to continue to keep using the app."

The ZOE app track coronavirus symptoms via your smartphone Credit:

Today's briefing came as new quarantine rules were introduced for those entering the UK.

As part of a four nations approach, from today, travellers entering Wales from overseas will need to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus.

The regulations also require travellers to provide contact details and other information that will support ‘contact tracing’.

This will be done using an online form that has been developed on a UK-wide basis.

People refusing to provide the required information or failing to self-isolate could face criminal conviction.

Any breaches of the self-isolation requirement could face a fixed penalty of £1,000, the fixed penalty for failing to provide information is £60 rising on each subsequent failure to provide information up to a maximum of £1920.

  • Watch the full coronavirus briefing live below: