ONE of the biggest shifts in Wales' Covid-19 response over the coming weeks will be the rules around self-isolating.

The Welsh Government is preparing to begin a gradual phasing out of the nation's remaining rules and restrictions, including around what happens if you test positive or develop Covid symptoms.

Strict self-isolation rules have been in place since the virus was first identified in Wales two years ago. Over time, however, with the rollout and wider availability of testing and vaccination programmes, the period for self-isolation has generally decreased.

Currently, people who test positive in Wales must isolate for at least five days and, if they then continue to test positive, should remain in isolation until 10 days have passed or until they test negative on two consecutive days.

The UK Government's scientific advisors, Sage, calculated the effect of self-isolating - combined with other behaviour changes - was to reduce Covid transmission during the pandemic by between 20 and 45 per cent.

In their plan for the future of Wales' Covid response, ministers warns that a "rapid return to pre-pandemic norms could therefore see a rapid increase in rates of infection".

That means the Welsh Government will continue to encourage people to self-isolate if they catch Covid after - as expected - the legal requirement to quarantine is lifted at the end of March.

What will happen to isolation rules in Wales over the coming months?

Barring any unexpected developments in the Covid situation, first minister Mark Drakeford will announce the end of Wales' remaining Covid laws next Friday, at the Welsh Government's next review of the rules.

The legal requirement to self-isolate will be removed at the end of March or in early April, and this will initially be replaced by advice to isolate if you test positive.

Because of this, Covid testing will continue in some capacity in Wales for the next three months, although free tests for asymptomatic people will be stopped at the end of March.

The Welsh Government will also continue to fund the Self-Isolation Support Scheme until the end of June, for people on low incomes who catch Covid and are unable to work from home.

Social care workers who have to self-isolate will also be reimbursed through the Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement Scheme until the end of June.

But then, at the end of June, those payments will stop - as will the government advice to self-isolate if you catch Covid or develop symptoms.

The rules in Wales from then will instead be to encourage people to "take additional precautions" if they fall ill with suspected Covid - public testing will also cease - such as staying at home if possible when they feel unwell.