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Coronavirus: Wales eases exercise rules as Mark Drakeford confirms lockdown to continue

The Welsh leader said most other social distancing restrictions would stay in place for another three weeks.

2 min read

People in Wales will be able to head outdoors next week to exercise more than once a day, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

The Welsh leader delivered the first significant easing of the coronavirus lockdown across the UK, but said most other social distancing restrictions would remain in place for another three weeks.

Unveiling "small and modest adjustments" to the rules, Mr Drakeford confirmed from Monday people in Wales will be able to go outside multiple times per day - provided that they do not travel a significant distance from home.

And he said garden centres will be allowed to re-open if they adhere to the two-metre social distancing rule, while councils have been given the go-ahead to plan library and waste centre reopenings.

The Welsh first minister said: "These changes will apply to everyone but the 120,000 people in the shielding group. It is really important this group continues to follow the shielding advice.

"We would also urge people who are over 70, who have an underlying health condition or are pregnant to continue to take extra care to protect themselves."

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already renewed that nation’s strict curbs on movement for another three weeks, and said she would “not be pressured into lifting restrictions prematurely”.

Boris Johnson will set out his thinking for UK-wide measures on Sunday, after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed there had been “no change” yet in the official guidance the public should follow to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Drakeford - whose government has confirmed that schools will not reopen until at least June 1 - said he wanted Wales to "move in step with the other nations of the United Kingdom".

Downing Street on Thursday stood by the “four nations” approach to the pandemic, saying a united front from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland “provides the best way forward”.

They added: “We agree that the only circumstances where there should be divergence is where there is evidence that supports it.”

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