As the Omicron variant ravages the UK, with more than 100,000 cases having been recorded in the last 24 hours, Wales has decided to crack down on social distancing measures.
What are the new restrictions?
On 22 December, Wales recorded its highest daily number of cases of the virus with 4,662 of which 941 were detected as belonging to the Omicron strain. As a result, starting the day after Christmas, the following are the new rules Brits can expect to take effect as of six in the morning:
- A minimum of two metres between people will return in public spaces.
- A maximum of six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants.
- Only table service will be offered in licensed establishments.
- Outdoor events will be capped at 50 people.
- Indoor events will be capped at 30 people.
- Nightclubs are to shut down completely and for an indefinite amount of time.
- Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals will not be affected by these new restrictions.
The importance of respecting the new rules
In a statement, First Minister Mark Drakeford urged the public to try to avoid large gatherings and respect social distancing measures to ensure the safety of everyone. He said:
A wave of infections caused by the new, fast-moving and very-infectious Omicron variant is headed our way. This new form of coronavirus could infect large numbers of people in Wales, disrupting daily lives and businesses and could cause an increase in the number of people who need hospital care in the coming weeks.
If Omicron was even half as severe as Delta, because of the extra speed a which it's transmitted, that would buy you 48 hours before you see those numbers of people going in to hospital climb to the very steep numbers we have seen.