Welsh Covid restrictions unchanged in latest review as Omicron cases 'surge'

The First Minister encouraged people to limit their social mixing, take lateral flow tests before meeting others and to get their vaccine or booster jab. Credit: PA Images

Current coronavirus restrictions will remain in place in Wales, the Government has confirmed.

The country will stay at Alert Level Two for at least another week following the latest Covid review.

These restrictions include the rule of six in public places, two-metre social distancing and limits on the number of people who can attend events.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the country is facing a “difficult month ahead” as Omicron case numbers "surge" to their highest ever levels - and look set to rise further.

The latest figures show there are more than 2,200 cases per 100,000 people in Wales.

Mr Drakeford said we are seeing very high infection rates and must continue to live under restrictions in order to "keep Wales safe".

He said: "The Omicron wave means we are all facing a difficult month ahead of us. We are already seeing extremely high case rates in communities and we must be prepared for cases to rise even higher, just as they have elsewhere in the UK.

“This variant may not be as severe as we had initially feared but the speed at which it is travelling and its infectiousness continue to be cause for concern.

"That makes it vital that we all take action to keep each other safe. The things which have helped to protect us all throughout the pandemic will continue to protect us now.

Mask wearing rules will stay in place Credit: PA Images

"Together, we will keep each other safe and we will keep Wales safe.”

The First Minister also encouraged people to limit their social mixing, take lateral flow tests before meeting others and to get their vaccine or booster jab.

The current rules mean people must wear face coverings in all indoor public places and when not seated at a restaurant or bar. No more than six people from different households can meet in a public premises and people should work from home if they can.

Nightclubs are closed and outdoor events are limited to 50 people, with indoor capped at 30.

It also means the seven-day isolation period for those who test positive remains in place, with a negative lateral flow test result needed on day six and one on day seven to leave quarantine on day eight.

The First Minister is due to hold a press conference at 12.15pm on Friday (January 7) to discuss the review.

Speaking ahead of this, the Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said he understands that some restrictions are still needed at this stage of the pandemic but evidence must be provided to prove the necessity of each rule.

He also emphasised his party's desire to see financial support for businesses, particularly hospitality, released earlier so companies can access the money sooner.

Welsh Government announced a £120m support fund for businesses affected by the rules. Applications for this are set to open in the week commencing January 17.

The Welsh Conservative Leader and his fellow party member, Russell George MS, also criticised the current rules around outdoor sporting events. They called for Mark Drakeford to announce changes to those restrictions.