NEW plans to keep Wales open and safe during the autumn and winter period will be released tomorrow (Friday, October 8).

First Minister Mark Drakeford will publish an updated Coronavirus Control Plan, detailing the options available for controlling the pandemic over the coming months.

The latest review of the regulations will keep Wales at alert level zero for another three weeks – which means all businesses are open and Wales is at the lowest level of restrictions.

There are two scenarios set out in the Coronavirus Control Plan for the winter. The first is called 'Covid Stable', which sees Wales remain at alert level zero throughout the autumn and winter, with all businesses able to remain open.

The Welsh Government said this was the most likely scenario for the future, as the population becomes used to living with the virus and we move out of the pandemic to a situation where the virus becomes a seasonal illness.

Existing measures could be relaxed further if case rates fall, or strengthened if case rates rise.

The second scenario is called 'Covid Urgent', which is designed to deal with any sudden changes to the situation, caused by the emergence of a new, fast-spreading variant or if vaccine immunity levels fall, causing a rise in pandemic pressures, which risk overwhelming the NHS.

In this scenario, the alert level system and restrictions would be used proportionately, but as a last resort, to protect people’s health, control the spread of infections and to protect the NHS.

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“We are facing a challenging winter ahead – coronavirus hasn’t gone away and flu is forecast to return this winter," Drakeford said.

“Vaccination is the best defence we have against coronavirus – the more people who are fully vaccinated, the better our chances of controlling the spread of this awful virus.

“We will continue to focus our efforts on increasing take up of the Covid-19 vaccine across the age and priority groups and rolling out the booster vaccine too. We also encourage everyone who is eligible, to have their flu jab this year.

“There is also a range of other measures we can all take to help protect ourselves and our loved ones, such as washing our hands, reducing the number of people we meet and wearing a face covering in indoor public places.

“These measures have helped keep us safe throughout the pandemic and they will also help to protect us from other winter viruses, such as flu and other respiratory infections.”

The Welsh Government has also re-issued some basic public health guidance:

  • Get your Covid-19 vaccines, including your booster when invited
  • Get tested and self-isolate if you have symptoms
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors
  • Keep your distance when you can
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Wear a face covering in indoor public places
  • Keep indoor places well-ventilated
  • Work from home whenever possible
  • Use a Covid Pass in nightclubs and large events.

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