Welsh government cabinet meets to decide lockdown rule changes – coronavirus morning headlines

Here are the morning’s coronavirus headlines from Thursday, March 11, as the Welsh cabinet meets today to decide what restrictions in Wales can be relaxed as infection rates continue to decline.

Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has indicated he hopes to announce a plan to ease the lockdown beyond Easter and until mid-April when he announces what they decide on Friday. He is also expected to give the green light for stores and hairdressers to open on Monday and confirm that all elementary and older students in exam years will return to class. Here you can see why the Welsh Government stores will reopen before all the children are back to school.

Speaking to S4C’s Newyddion, he said: “We are still working as a cabinet – discussing what we will be announcing on Friday. We want to lift the restrictions where we can, but do it cautiously, a step at the same time, keeping as always an eye on our main priority: to bring the children back for face-to-face teaching. “

Mr Drakeford also said he wanted to give a timetable for “the next three weeks and more than that too” at the Welsh government briefing on Friday. He said it would cover “what we plan to do this Easter and through mid-April”.

“More than that, I think it’s impossible to say for sure,” he added.

“I want to give more confidence (for Easter and beyond) to people and businesses on Friday. We are still working on the details.”

The infection rate across Wales is now 42 cases per 100,000 population based on the seven days to March 5, a drop from the figure of 44 reported on Tuesday and now well below the figure of 50 cases that the Welsh government had previously highlighted as key. reference in its containment planning. You can see a breakdown of cases for your region here or enter your postal code below:

Any restriction to “stay local” can only last a few weeks.

The prime minister is also expected to announce the end of the “stay at home” rule, suggesting that a period of “stay local” rules could be introduced instead.

The Welsh government health minister has said any imposition of a five mile rule could only last for a few weeks.

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Vaughan Gething was asked about potential plans to introduce local residence rules at the Welsh government press conference on Wednesday.

He said the restrictions could only be in place for a few weeks and could also be slightly different depending on where people are in Wales.

“I think it was important to prepare people for the potential of wider travel and for people moving to different parts of Wales,” Mr Gething said at the briefing.

“We know that if we are to effectively restart parts of our tourism industry with self-contained accommodations, it probably means that a period of local stay probably doesn’t mean these businesses can open.”

On signals about youth mental health, experts warn

There are “worrying signals” about the effect of the pandemic on children and young people, researchers from Swansea said.

In an editorial published in The BMJ, experts said the mental health of British children “was deteriorating before the pandemic”. Known triggers for self-harm and poor mental health are made worse by the pandemic restrictions, they said.

Researchers at the universities of Cambridge, Bristol and Swansea said that between 2004 and 2007, anxiety, depression and self-harm increased, especially among teenage girls.

They said research suggests that likely mental health issues in children and youth have dropped from 11% in 2017 to 16% in July 2020.

MEPs demand “greater degree of certainty” over resumption of vacation abroad

A government task force planning to resume overseas vacations must clarify the criteria destinations must meet for coronavirus vaccines and testing, MPs said.

The select transport committee called on the global travel task force to define the criteria passengers will need to meet to undertake overseas travel.

He also called on the group to indicate when the current quarantine programs will be removed and how the government will support the aviation industry if the reopening of travel is delayed by high levels of Covid-19 or variants of the virus.

Several government departments, travel agencies, transport operators and industry organizations joined the working group’s first virtual session last week, chaired by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Mr Shapps said on Wednesday he was “hopeful” people could travel overseas this summer, but warned there was no “melt guarantee.”

Powers in Wales and Westminster will both play a role in determining whether people here can go on holiday abroad this summer, but the UK government’s responsibility for foreign affairs will mean it will play a key role in the conclusion of bilateral agreements which will make travel abroad possible. The group will provide a report to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on April 12 with recommendations on how and when overseas travel could resume.

Gwent police officers used three private gyms

Officers working for a Welsh Police Force were given access to three gymnasiums based inside the police stations throughout the Wales Alert Level Four lockdown.

Under current national rules, all sports fields, golf courses, recreation and fitness facilities have been forced to close to the public with stiff penalties in place for anyone who violates the restrictions.

But staff and officers working for Gwent Police have had access to three gyms based at their main headquarters in Cwmbran, Blackwood and Newport Central Police Station since December.

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The force said the decision had been taken to allow officers to continue using the facilities as they “must maintain a minimum level of physical fitness to continue performing their duties.”

Gwent Police have not made the decision public, and the issue was only revealed after WalesOnline asked the force to clarify its policy on the use of in-house fitness facilities.

The other three Wales Police Forces (South Wales Police, Dyfed-Powys Police and North Wales Police) have all confirmed that they have gymnasiums on their properties, but said they are all currently closed in accordance with alert level four restrictions.

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