// Wales’ national lockdown extended for another 3 weeks
// Non-essential retailers to continue to remain shut until the end of the month at least
// Restrictions will also be further strengthened in supermarkets to curb spread of new Covid strain
Wales’ restrictions will be further strengthened in supermarkets as the national lockdown is extended for three weeks in an effort halt the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that Wales’ level four measures will need to be reinforced in three areas, including in essential shops, so they offer a level of protection “as in the early days of the pandemic”.
Showrooms will also have to close, although they can still operate click-and-collect.
Drakeford also confirmed that the national lockdown in Wales would be extended for three weeks, meaning non-essential retailers will have to remain shut until at least the end of the month.
Wales’ national lockdown – its third one to date – first came into effect on December 19.
“Those who work and shop in supermarkets need the confidence of knowing that numbers are carefully and consistently controlled and that all other measures are in place to keep us safe,” Drakeford said.
“The key instruction is to stay at home. But some people are unable to work from home. So, the second area where we will look to strengthen protection is in the workplace.
“The new strain of the virus is so much more contagious that we have to look again at the defences in place to keep workplaces safe, working with employers and trade unions to do so.
“The third area is schools and colleges. We are bringing decisions about schools and colleges into line with the three-week review cycle to give parents and staff as much certainty as we can in this uncertain time.”
He also said: “The alert level 4 restrictions we introduced before Christmas must remain in place to keep us all safe.
“To slow the spread of the virus, we all must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“These feel like dark times but the new Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out across Wales, giving us a path out of this pandemic.
“It will take a huge effort to vaccinate everyone and, despite the end of this pandemic being in sight, it is more important than ever that we follow the rules and stay at home.”
All other countries within the UK are also in the middle of their own respective national lockdowns.