Mark Drakeford confirms lockdown to remain in place for now

Confirmed earlier today via twitter: Lockdown remains

Mark Drakeford has today announced that, although numbers of coronavirus cases have been falling steadily over the last week, Wales is to remain in tier 4 lockdown until the next review on the 19th February.

Posting on twitter today:

Coronavirus cases are steadily falling thanks to your efforts. And every vaccine delivered is a small victory against the virus. 

But rates are still too high. Our NHS remains under significant pressure. We need to keep going a little longer to bring the virus under control.

There is some promising news for younger children and parents though.  Mark Drakeford went on to announce on twitter that he hopes to re-open schools for younger children after the half-term in February:

We hope we will have the headroom to get our youngest learners back into the classroom after half term. We’ll work with teachers, councils and unions to plan for their safe return and promise to keep parents updated.

12:15 Press Conference

Summary of the Press Conference

Lockdown to remain

Mark Drakeford reveals that numbers of infections in Wales are coming down, from 600 positive cases per 100,000 people down to 175 per 100,000 people.  However, the NHS is still under extreme pressure and it is too early to lift restrictions.

 

Vaccination Progress

Wales is making huge progress with the vaccination system.  362,000 people have received their first dose with someone receiving a vaccination every 5 seconds.

 

Two small restrictions eased

From tomorrow, two people from different households will be able to exercise together outdoors.

People who need to change their support bubble due to changes in circumstances will receive help doing so.

 

Education Top Priority

Education is top priority.  If numbers continue to fall, children will return to school after the half-term from the 22nd of February, starting with younger children from primary schools.

 

Business Support

A further 200 Million Pounds has been made available via the ERF fund for non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors via the Non-Domestics Rates system.  For businesses who have applied for previous support through the NDR system do not need to apply again. Applications are open to new businesses.

  • Rateable Value less than £12,000 : £3,000 NDR Grant
  • Rateable Value upto £150,000 : £5,000 NDR Grant

40 Million released for the discretionary fund for businesses which do not come under the NDR system, to be allocated by local authorities.  Up to £2,000 available via the scheme.

For more information about funding available, it is available via the business wales website: https://businesswales.gov.wales/

Sources

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