First Minister Mark Drakeford 'paused' easing of more restrictions after concerns over Indian Covid-19 variant

Mark Drakeford said considerations around easing further restriction were ''paused''

Plans to ease more restrictions from Monday were ''paused'' by the Welsh Government after concerns over the spread of the Indian variant, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

On Monday, pubs, cafes and restaurants will welcome customers back through their doors with the return of indoor hospitality as Wales' alert level is lowered.

Mr Drakeford said the lowering of the country's alert level to level two was prompted by levels of coronavirus remaining low and vaccination rates the highest in the UK.

Pubs will reopen from Monday Credit: PA

But speaking on Sky News on Friday, the First Minister said he had ''considered some further easements'' but those plans had been impacted by the emergence of the Indian variant.

Mr Drakeford told Sky News plans to allow smaller events to reopen, as well as relaxing rules on people meeting were ''paused.''

He said: "We had thought of moving ahead with the reopening of smaller events, we'll pause that for a moment.

"We were thinking of liberalising the rules in the way in which people can meet together, not just in their extended household but beyond that, we'll pause that for the moment.

"If the advice on the Indian variant is that it is safe to move ahead, we won't need to wait for the end of our next three-week cycle to do those things, but the Indian variant is giving us cause for concern.

"We don't know enough about whether it is more transmissible than the Kent variant, we don't know enough about whether the vaccination programme is as effective in dealing with it as it is with other variants we have in Wales, and until we're a bit clearer on that I think it is sensible to take a precautionary approach."

Eid celebrations were held at Cardiff Castle on Thursday Credit: ITV Wales

On Thursday, crowds gathered at Cardiff Castle to celebrate Eid as part of the Welsh Government's first pilot event programme.

A Welsh music event is also due to take place this weekend. Both are designed to test the safe return of events.


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