Wales will stay in lockdown beyond Easter says First Minister Mark Drakeford
First Minister Mark Drakeford says the lockdown will stay in place in Wales (PA)
Wales is set to remain in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic beyond the Easter weekend, according to the country’s First Minister.
Mark Drakeford told citizens “the efforts we are making are not yet over” as he confirmed the strict social distancing measures will stay in place into next week.
It raises the likelihood of the UK-wide guidance on not leaving the house except for essential supplies, work and limited exercise also being extended.
Boris Johnson announced the Government guidelines on March 23, saying they would be in place for three weeks before the situation is reassessed.
But while ministers and officials have so far refused to say when the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak will come, making it all-but certain the measures will be renewed.
It now appears certain that they will stay in force in Wales beyond next week's review, after Mr Drakeford tweeted: "We have asked people to stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus, and there are signs that this is having an impact.
"The efforts we are making are not yet over, measures will stay in place next week.
"Together, we are making a difference, protecting our NHS and saving lives."
He later told the Welsh Assembly as the initial three-week period finishes: "These restrictions will not end then.
"We will not throw away the gains we have made, and the lives we can save, by abandoning our efforts just as they begin to bear fruit.”
It came as Public Health Wales confirmed another 33 deaths from coronavirus in the country, taking the total to 245.
Earlier the country’s housing and local government minister Julie James had indicated this would be the case at the Welsh Government's daily coronavirus briefing in Cardiff.
"We are definitely extending the lockdown. It will not be raised next week,” she said.
Ms James warned her fellow countrymen their actions over the Easter break would "shape Wales for years to come".
She said: ”This weekend we will be celebrating Easter, and as we prepare for that long bank holiday weekend, ministers, local government leaders and the leaders of our emergency services including the police will be calling on everyone in Wales to follow the stay at home rules.
"Our message to Wales is very simple, stay home and save lives.
"Our actions and decisions over the Easter bank holiday weekend and in the coming weeks and months will shape Wales for years to come.”