politics

Outdoor events boost for Wales but Drakeford urges caution over variant fears


Outdoor events of up to 10,000 people will be allowed in Wales from Monday, the country’s First Minister will announce today.

In Mark Drakeford’s midday briefing he will also outline a more cautious approach to moving to Level 1 restrictions than his counterpart in Westminster Boris Johnson.

It comes against the backdrop of an outbreak of the Delta Covid variant around the seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales.

So far there have only been 97 confirmed cases of the coronavirus strain, also known as the Indian variant, across the whole country.

However 35 “confirmed or presumptive” cases of the Delta strain have been found around the Llandudno area, which has been flooded with tourists over the holiday period.

More than 300 people have been ordered to self-isolate as a precaution.



Map showing the North West has been hardest hit by recent outbreaks of the virus, according to PHE's latest data
The North West of England has been hardest hit by recent outbreaks of the virus, according to PHE’s latest data

The First Minister remains concerned about the increase in rates of the Delta variant in north-west England, right on the doorstep of north-east Wales.

In his address to the nation he will say the move to alert level one will be phased, with outdoor events opening first.

Ahead of the briefing, Mr Drakeford said: “The emergence of the delta variant shows the pandemic is not over yet and we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

“The risk of infection is significantly less outdoors than it is indoors. This is why we are phasing in the changes in this three-week cycle.

“This will allow more people to enjoy events outdoors and take advantage of the Welsh summer, while we continue to roll out the vaccination programme to all adults.”



Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson eats an ice-cream as he visits Llandudno during the Senedd election campaign last month, which is now at the centre of an outbreak of the Delta Covid variant
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson eats an ice-cream as he visits Llandudno during the Senedd election campaign last month, which is now at the centre of an outbreak of the Delta Covid variant

Mr Johnson is due to announce whether lockdown restrictions will be lifted in a June 14 address but a Mirror poll showed half of Britons think he should delay it because of the threat of the Delta variant.

He has already rolled back on allowing travel to Portugal, announcing yesterday people travelling back from the country should isolate at home for up to 10 days on their return.

More than 85% of the Welsh population has received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 45% have completed the full course.

Up to 4,000 people will be allowed at open air events if they’re standing and 10,000 if seated.

The number of households allowed to meet will be increased to three, plus another if from a single household or single adult with caring responsibilities will also be able to join.

A decision on whether indoor events can restart will be taken by June 21.

The further changes being considered by the Welsh Government by that date include brining in the rule of six for meeting indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation, increasing numbers allowed to attend indoor organised gatherings and indoor events and opening ice-skating rinks.

Meanwhile in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also been taking a cautious approach to relaxing restrictions.

She said large parts of the country were “not ready” to move to Level 1, saying “it’s safer to hold these areas in Level 2”.

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