The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has followed the advice Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) over the spread of the Indian variant and have decided to pause some restriction easements.
Drakeford announced that Wales has 17 cases of the Indian variant as of Thursday.
On Monday Wales will move to alert level two and reopen indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.
However Drakeford warned that the government will pause further easements of restrictions should “the risks in doing so would be too great.”
Drakeford told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday, “We were considering a small number of further easements from Monday but have decided to hold back on those until we get the advice from Sage who met yesterday, our own scientific advice which we’ll receive imminently, just to make sure that we are continuing to take a precautionary approach in case the Indian variant is on the march, and therefore Wales would be vulnerable to it as well.”
When asked if he would be prepared to delay further steps in his road map if advice from Sage suggests it is necessary.
Drakeford said, “Yes, we would. We tried our best to follow the scientific advice at every step and if the advice were to be that we should hold back on some further easements because the risks in doing so would be too great then certainly that is what we would do.”
Speaking to Sky News Drakeford said Ministers had thought about “moving ahead with the reopening of smaller events” and “liberalising the rules in the way in which people can meet together, not just in their extended household but beyond that,” which are both now on hold.
Drakeford added, “If the advice on the Indian variant is that it is safe to move ahead, we won’t need to wait for the end of our next three-week cycle to do those things, but the Indian variant is giving us cause for concern.
“We don’t know enough about whether it is more transmissible than the Kent variant, we don’t know enough about whether the vaccination programme is as effective in dealing with it as it is with other variants we have in Wales, and until we’re a bit clearer on that I think it is sensible to take a precautionary approach.”