Minor changes to lockdown restrictions in Wales to begin

People can exercise more than once a day and garden centres can reopen.

People will be able to exercise more than once a day and garden centres are set to reopen in Wales from Monday.

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday that lockdown restrictions in the country would continue for a further three weeks, but three minor adjustments could be made.

These include people being able to exercise more than once a day – but they must do so locally, with the exercise not involving any significant travel.

Garden centres are able to reopen if social-distancing rules can be followed.

Local authorities can also start planning how to safely reopen libraries and municipal recycling centres.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Drakeford said the “stay at home” message had not changed in Wales, despite the UK Government issuing a new slogan – “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives”.

“This evening, the Prime Minister has set out the minor changes which are proposed to the lockdown rules in England over the next three weeks,” Mr Drakeford said.

“I set out the modest changes to the stay-at-home regulations we are making in Wales on Friday. These will come into force tomorrow afternoon.

“Here in Wales, we will change the regulations so people can exercise more often and allow garden centres to open, if they can comply with social distancing.

“Our advice has not changed in Wales.”

He said people should remain at home wherever possible and stay local and alert when working, shopping and exercising.

Mr Drakeford said Mr Johnson’s “roadmap for the future” is at an early stage as it depends on how coronavirus behaves in the coming weeks and months.

He repeated that schools in Wales would not “return to normal” on June 1.

“We will continue to make decisions, which are right for Wales, using information and expert advice about how coronavirus is circulating here to keep us safe,” Mr Drakeford added.

The changes that come into effect on Monday will not apply to the 120,000 people shielding in Wales.

Paul Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said the key message has not “fundamentally” changed between England and Wales.

“The big difference between England and Wales after last night is that the Prime Minister has set out his clear plan for recovery, which is based on science and is conditional on the R number reducing further,” Mr Davies said.

“Sadly, so far, the First Minister hasn’t laid out his plan for Wales and yet this is something that Sir Kier Starmer has been demanding in Westminster.”

Mr Davies said people in Wales need “clarity” on when schools will reopen.

“We all need to stay at home as much as possible and work from home if you can,” Mr Davies said.

“But, after seven weeks of restrictions, the people of Wales need hope and aspiration about how and when the lockdown could end, and we need the Welsh Government to deliver this now.”

On Friday, the Welsh Government’s tactical advisory cell estimated the R value – the number of people the average infected individual would spread the virus to – to be around 0.8.

Modelling shows that if R remains at 0.8 over the next three months, there will be an estimated 5,100 new cases, 2,800 hospital admissions and 800 deaths.

But even an increase to 1.1 would see hospital admissions “take off” and deaths to rise to 7,200 over the same period, Mr Drakeford said.

He said restrictions could be reimposed if the R value appeared to be returning to previous levels.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price described the UK Government’s message as “dangerous and confusing”.

“The UK Government has cut itself adrift of the three-nation approach which now exists between Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland,” Mr Price said.

“There is no clearer and simpler message than ‘Stay at home’.

“Raising expectations of an early lifting of lockdown in England will lower people’s levels of patience, and moving too fast could be catastrophic for Wales.

“That is why we need the powers to pass legislation on travel and residency restrictions so that Welsh policy isn’t undermined by Westminster.”

On Sunday, Public Health Wales said a total of 1,111 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, an increase of 12 on Saturday’s figures.

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Wales was 11,344, an increase of 223 on Saturday’s figures.