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Outdoor meeting rules expected to be relaxed in Wales

UK News | Published:

First Minister Mark Drakeford will hold the Welsh Government’s daily press briefing on Friday.

People rest after exercise on the beach in Swansea

Coronavirus restrictions in Wales are expected to be relaxed on Monday, the PA news agency understands.

First Minister Mark Drakeford is set to announce on Friday that people from two different households will be able to meet up outdoors, as long as they do not travel more than five miles.

Under new “stay local” guidelines, people will still need to observe social distancing when meeting in public or private outdoor spaces.

Exceptions will allow for travelling to work, to seek care, and shopping for essentials if they are not available locally.

The easing of lockdown rules will be formally set out by Mr Drakeford at the Welsh Government’s daily press briefing on Friday.

Further plans to relax restrictions in the coming weeks are also expected to be discussed.

In a video posted online on Thursday, Mr Drakeford said: “We know that the efforts of everyone in Wales has helped to slow the spread of coronavirus and ultimately to protect lives.

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Coronavirus cases in Wales
(PA Graphics)

“Thank you for your ongoing help and support and for all the sacrifices you have made.

“I know being separated from family and friends is difficult.

“During this review we have been looking at how we can do this once more, in a very careful and cautious way, without increasing the risk of the virus spreading.”

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But following reports about Friday’s announcement, the former leader of the Welsh Conservative group criticised the “arbitrary” five-mile restriction on travel.

Andrew RT Davies, MS for South Wales Central, said: “First and foremost, I welcome the Welsh Government’s decision to allow people from different households to meet, which is great news to many people and families in Wales.

“However, whilst this is the right course of action, the First Minister is in danger of giving with one hand and taking away with another by imposing this arbitrary five-mile travel rule. It must go.

“Not everyone in Wales lives in a town or city close to family and friends and this will unfairly impact on those in our rural communities.

“I therefore politely ask the First Minister to change this regulation prior to tomorrow’s announcement and ensure everyone in Wales can have the pleasure of seeing their family and friends next week.

“If he chooses not to, then the Welsh Labour Government should share the scientific evidence on which this decision has been made with the public.”

On Thursday Public Health Wales announced a further 14 people had died after testing positive for Covid-19, bringing its total confirmed deaths to 1,307, though the true number is known to be more than 2,000.

Another 72 cases of the virus were also reported, bringing the total of confirmed cases in Wales so far to 13,725.

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