Wales Set to Axe Remaining Coronavirus Restrictions
The Welsh government announced on Friday that they will be removing coronavirus restrictions on the 28th of March.
Regional rules surrounding isolation periods after testing positive for coronavirus and mask-wearing are set to be scrapped, with free lateral flow tests also set to be stopped on the 28th of March.
Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, has said that even though it will no longer be mandatory to wear masks or isolate if you have the virus, people will still be advised to do so.
Drakeford, of the leftist Labour party, has maintained harsh restrictions throughout the pandemic and faced calls from the Welsh Conservatives to end them sooner, in line with neighbouring England, but he has remained adamant about taking a slower approach, the BBC reports.
“I think our way of doing things has succeeded, and I think it has secured the support of the bulk of the population in Wales, and I don’t intend to throw all that away”, Drakeford claimed.
The politician has also insisted that the pandemic “isn’t over” and we should be ready for “fluctuations in global patterns of infection for several years”.
In Scotland, some restrictions remain in place but are on track to be relaxed. Mandatory public mask-wearing is set to be relaxed on the 21st of March, and Scotland’s nightclub vaccine passport system was scrapped on the 28th of February. Those who test positive or display symptoms for the virus in Scotland are still legally required to isolate, with no end date currently in sight.
Northern Ireland currently has no restrictions in place, however, unlike in England, the regional Department of Health is claiming that mandatory isolation after testing positive was never legally enshrined but just just “very strong guidance”.
Northern Ireland’s test and trace system will also remain in place.
Wales’s decision to begin relaxing its strict rules comes two days after major British airline Jet2 announced they would no longer be requiring passengers taking off from England and Northern Ireland to wear masks, highlighting that it is “no longer a legal requirement”.
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary also announced that his airline would be relaxing their coronavirus policies “maybe by the end of April” or “the end of May”.