Families from different households may soon be able to meet outdoors in Wales as government considers relaxing lockdown

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FAMILIES from different homes in Wales may soon be able to meet outdoors under Welsh government plans to relax its coronavirus lockdown

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said there is “developing evidence” that meeting outside carries a reduced risk of Covid-19 infection.

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Wales hopes to relax its coronavirus lockdown to allow people to meet someone from another household. The plan comes after England eased the rules last week, with people relaxing in London’s Hyde Park today.[/caption]

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said there is “developing evidence” that meeting outside carries a reduced risk of Covid-19 infection

Coronavirus lockdown rules differ in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The  Welsh plan comes after Northern Ireland allowed up to six people from different households to meet outdoors from today.

In England, people can now meet one other person from outside their household outdoors if social distancing is observed.

Scotland is hoping to allow the same by May 28 if progress is made on reducing the spread of the virus, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set to publish a ‘route map’ on Thursday.

Britain’s coronavirus death toll hit at least 34,970 today after 174 more died in England – including a seven-year-old –  with more than 1,850 of overall deaths in Wales.

LOCKDOWN  HOPES

Mr Gething said: “We are reviewing our rules on lockdown every three weeks as we are required to by the law that’s been introduced.

“We will need to think about what that then means not just about being outside, but who you’re outside with and the level of contact you have.”

He added: “These are active considerations.”

Wales and Scotland’s current rules are stricter than England, where Boris Johnson has changed official slogan from Stay At Home to Stay Alert.

Meanwhile, new analysis published today suggests Britain’s overall death toll from the virus is far higher than the total reported by the Government so far – and has already passed 44,000.

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The Welsh government is set to review its lockdown rules on May 28.

Ministers were debating how to continue with a “deliberately cautious approach”, Mr Gething said.

Wales reproduction value – or R Rate – is betweeen 0.7 and 1, up from betweeen 0.7 and 0.9.

The measure is used to indicate the speed the virus is spreading, with any number above 1 carrying more risk of cases increasing.

Last week, First Minister Make Drakeford announced a ‘traffic light’ system to take Wales out of lockdown.

We will need to think about what that then means not just about being outside, but who you’re outside with and the level of contact you have


Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething

 

In England, rules on meeting loved ones outdoors were relaxed last week.

People can now meet one person from outside their household so long as it is not indoors.

Restrictions  in England were also eased for garden centres, golf courses and tennis courts last Wednesday, with green-fingered shoppers flocking to outlets and sports fans practising their putting and serves.

This week, Boris Johnson vowed to make it “gradually easier to see family and friends” over time – as he revealed that three out of five tests have been met to ease the lockdown rules.

The PM urged Brits to be patient, stressing that it was only by sticking with it that the people of Britain can get the rewards of seeing loved ones in time.

BORIS: ‘STICK AT IT’

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson said: “If we all stick at it, then we’ll be able, gradually, to get rid of the complexities and the restrictions and make it easier and simpler for families to meet again.

“But we must move slowly, and at the right time.”

And the Prime Minister revealed that of the five lockdown tests “three have been met and progress is being made on the remaining two”.

Officials said that they were confident that the NHS can cope, there was a sustained and consistent fall in the death rate, and the rate of infection is also decreasing.

The two remaining tests are making sure that there are enough tests and PPE to meet future demand, and being confident any tweaks would not overwhelm the NHS either.


Under Government plans, Boris wants to open schools and non-essential shops from June 1 onwards, if the rate of infection is low enough.

And from the start of July, ministers are planning to try and open up even more services – possibly including restaurants, cafes and cinema

Families in Northern Ireland can able now meet outdoors if they keep their distance – something which is forbidden in the rest of the UK.

Boris Johhnson said he wanted to make it easier to see friends and family
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People enjoy the sun in Hyde Park today just days after England’s rules on meeting people from a different household were eased[/caption]