Wales to go back into full lockdown for two weeks from Friday

Wales is set to go back into lockdown from Friday, with everyone told to stay home unless they are key workers.

Non-essential shops as well as pubs and restaurants will be closed across the entire country in a return to measures not seen since the UK’s national lockdown was eased in May.

The ‘firebreak’ will last two weeks and incorporate the half term holiday as the country battles the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

People are being told not to gather with anyone they don’t live with either indoors or outdoors but there are exceptions for single people, who can ‘bubble’ with one other household for support.

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First Minister Mark Drakeford said childcare facilities will stay open. Primary schools will reopen after the half term. Only children in years seven and eight will be able to attend secondary schools. All others will go back to learning from home for an extra week.

Students at Welsh universities are also being told to stay in their accommodation and all lectures will move online.

Mr Drakeford said the virus was spreading rapidly across Wales and there is a risk of the NHS being overwhelmed by hospital admissions.

The Welsh Government is making £300 million available to support businesses affected. Every business will get a £1,000 payment with those in hospitality getting an automatic £5,000.

Mr Drakeford wants more financial support from Westminster to help protect jobs and businesses affected by the new measures. 

The ‘circuit break’ coincides with the end of the the furlough scheme on November 1. Staff working in shops, pubs and bars that are forced to close are now only entitled to 67% of their wages.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said last week that local lockdowns in force across 17 areas of Wales – affecting more than 2.3 million people – have not slowed the spread of the virus enough.

A travel ban preventing people from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus from entering Wales came into force on Friday.

There were a further 950 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 35,628.

Public Health Wales said three further deaths had been reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,711.

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