Covid easing: 'We will be following data not politics' in Wales, says health minister

What changes are being made in England - and what does this mean for Wales? Political Editor Adrian Masters explains all in Ask Adrian

Any lifting of the remaining coronavirus restrictions in Wales will be "driven by data, not politics", the country's health minister has said.

Addressing a press conference in Cardiff, Eluned Morgan said Wales is still in a "very difficult situation" with case numbers of Covid-19 "increasing exponentially" due to the delta variant.

Her comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that all legal coronavirus restrictions including mask-wearing, social distancing and nightclub closures will end at Step 4 of the Government's plan to ease England's lockdown, which is expected to be on July 19. 

The Prime Minister has gambled on trusting the public's judgment and vaccines as he scrapped the remaining restrictions Credit: PA

Boris Johnson led a Downing Street press conference on Monday where said the government is trusting the public to use their "judgement" to manage coronavirus risks from 19 July.

The so-called "freedom day" is expected on the 19th, with a decision on whether or not to go ahead being taken a week earlier.

When asked about whether Wales will follow suit, Eluned Morgan said there is still a "real vulnerability" for those who have not yet been vaccinated and any easing of further restrictions will be considered in the "next few days".

It comes as Public Health Wales confirmed a further 1,256 cases of coronavirus in Wales in the lat 48 hours.

PHW said two people had died with the virus in the same 48-hour period.

Flintshire currently has the highest rate of positivity with 9.3% people tested having the virus in the last seven days.

The health minister said, "We will be making recommendations next week on that cycle and we will be following the data rather than the politics. That is what we’ve been doing all the way through this - our primary concern is to keep people safe."

Ms Morgan did add that the nation will need to learn to "live with the illness" and "we are going to have t adapt as a society to a situation where we will be exposed to this new variant and to coronavirus more generally."

She said the government here is aware of the "huge amount of movement" across the Wales and England borders and said there is a "constant dialogue" with colleagues in the Westminster government.

She added, "In an ideal world we would like to move together, but if it's not right for Wales we won't be doing that. Boris Johnson will do what he thinks is right in England and we will do what is right in Wales."

She said any announcement will be made next Wednesday in Wales.