Lockdown restrictions extended for further three weeks in Wales

First Minister Mark Drakeford told a press conference in Cardiff that the latest evidence showed the first peak of coronavirus infections had been passed in the country. “Thirdly, we propose changing the regulations to allow local authorities to begin planning how to safely reopen libraries and municipal recycling centres. “It’s really important that people in that group continue to follow the shielding advice they have received from the chief medical officer.” Mr Drakeford said it was for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to decide the steps that would be taken in England. But he added: “I don’t believe that we will see anywhere in the United Kingdom anything other than the most modest of immediate changes.” The R value – the number of people the average infected individual would spread the virus to – in Wales is currently around 0.8. The R value is believed to be slightly higher in care homes than the community level in Wales, though Mr Drakeford said the evidence was not precise enough to give a “definitive” figure. The measures, first introduced in March, impost strict restrictions on gatherings, the movement of people and the operation of businesses, including closures, in Wales. Speaking after the extension of the lockdown, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said the Welsh Government must now “significantly step up” plans to test and trace cases. “We welcome the cautious approach adopted by the First Minister in his statement today, and implore the UK Prime Minister not to implement an England-wide relaxation of restrictions that would completely undermine this approach and potentially have a disastrous impact on Wales.” On Thursday, Public Health Wales said a total of 1,062 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, an increase of 18 on Wednesday’s figures.