Covid: When will lockdown be lifted? And is it too soon to book a holiday in Wales?

Lockdown restrictions could be eased "slowly and cautiously" in Wales around spring time, if levels of coronavirus infection continue to fall, according to the First Minister.

Mr Drakeford said this would only happen if infection levels fell, the impact on the health service was "drained away", and the vaccination programme offered protection to people against the virus.

The Welsh Government announced on Friday it had reached its first major target of vaccinating the top four priority groups in the country.

Latest data shows there were 608 new cases of the virus confirmed in Wales as the death toll climbed by a further 25 people.

The current rate of infection here is around 34 people per 100,000 of the population, compared to 604 in the middle of December.

Lockdown could be eased if infection levels continue to fall and the vaccine programme was effective in protecting people Credit: PA

Mr Drakeford told a press conference, "If that is the path that we are on, then a pattern in Wales as we move towards the spring and Easter will be one in which we will be able to slowly and cautiously lift the restrictions that are currently in place in all aspects of our lives".

He warned that the path "depends upon continued success" and there are "no guarantees" when trying to predict what will happen next.

"That will include the tourism industry and it'll include those aspects of family life which are denied to us all at the moment, but that is a path that depends upon continued success.

"We've learnt so often over the last 12 months coronavirus continues to have very unpleasant surprises up its sleeve, we're by no means guaranteed to have a smooth passage into the future."

The tourism industry has urged the FM to produce a roadmap on the reopening of businesses Credit: PA

When asked about people potentially booking a holiday in Wales, he said they should do so "knowing the uncertain world we are living in".

But, he did recognise the importance of the tourism industry being able to trade over Easter.

The Federation of Small Businesses urged Mr Drakeford to produce a roadmap to allow businesses to reopen at Easter.

Ben Francis from the FSB said, “We’re calling for the First Minister to work with tourism businesses to give them some kind of route out of lockdown. We understand that things might change and that the course of the virus has been unpredictable at many times during this pandemic, but we still believe that the First Minister must bring business owners into the conversation about their future."

During the press conference, the First Minister said, "When we reopened tourism last year, we didn't go from nothing to everything in one go.

"I hear everything that the tourism industry says to us in Wales and want to recognise how important the Easter period is to them.

"I'm trying to give an indication today that if everything continues to improve, we will do what we can to respond to their wish to be able to resume trading again over the Easter period.

"Nobody should think for a moment that that will mean a wholesale reopening of that industry, and anybody who is booking ahead needs to do so in the full knowledge that the improvements that we are seeing at the moment, nobody can guarantee that things will continue in that way."