Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister
The Welsh Government is today publishing the Coronavirus Control Plan: Revised Alert Levels in Wales (March 2021).
This updated plan, which takes account of vaccination and the highly-infectious Kent variant, which is now the dominant form of the virus in Wales, sets out how we will move through the alert levels and how we can help people and businesses plan for the future, as we take a careful and phased approach to relaxing the current restrictions.
The purpose of the plan is to enable us to go on lifting restrictions, provided the virus remains effectively suppressed.
The plan refreshes both the interventions at each level and the range of indicators the Welsh Government will analyse alongside professional expert advice and intelligence from local partners. If the health situation deteriorates, the plan also sets out how these relaxations may need to be slowed, paused or reversed.
We are now entering a critical phase in the pandemic. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But it is not yet over. The spring and summer months provide us with hope of more freedoms, as rates of infection have fallen and we vaccinate more and more people. We must not rush to remove all restrictions and risk a resurgence of the virus in the months ahead.
Scientific modelling from a range of sources points to the very high likelihood of a third wave of infections later this year. What happens between now and then will determine how big that wave is, how many people will be at risk and how many will die.
Our successful vaccination programme will help to lower the number of people who will suffer serious illness and lose their lives from COVID-19, but despite the phenomenal speed at which we’re rolling out vaccination and the high take-up rates, there will still be many people who won’t be protected.
We will revisit this plan after vaccination has been offered to all eligible adults, currently scheduled for the end of July, when more evidence and data about its impact will be available.
We hope this plan will provide us with a path to relax all the restrictions but, at the moment, it is too early to make such a cast-iron guarantee. Vaccination gives us hope that the worst of the pandemic is almost behind us and there is a brighter future ahead of us for everyone.