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Covid updates from the week from Scotland, Wales & NI

Article updated 8/7/21

Wales

New weekly figures published by the Office for National Statistics were confirmed last week that there have been no deaths from Covid-19 in Wales for the first time since March 2020.

Wales is going to have to “learn to live with” coronavirus, the nation’s health minister has said. Eluned Morgan said ahead of the UK government’s announcement, however, the Welsh government is yet to reveal its next moves, but they could be announced a week on Wednesday.

Meanwhile the country’s education minister Jeremy Miles confirmed that schools, colleges and universities will soon be able to decide their own set of coronavirus rules – including facemasks and self-isolation.

Miles said there was a need for a “more localised approach rather than a blanket approach,” with restrictions based on the data in particular areas.

A “national framework” will be published by the Welsh Government to guide education settings in easing or escalating rules depending on a low, medium, or high risk of harm to learners and staff when they return in September.

Mr Miles warned that things “would not be back to normal by September”, but that the government would look to “gradually ease the extraordinary measures we’ve had to put in place” thanks to the vaccination programme.

Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon joined the Chief Medical Officer for a live press conference on Tuesday 29th June to update on the situation in Scotland, as it was reported that 3,781,887 residents have received their first dose of the vaccine.

All over 18s are also now being invited to receive their jab, with drop-in centres open across the country. On Monday, Sturgeon delivered an urgent message to the public, telling everyone to “play their part” and to “be cautious” after cases hit an all time high of 3,285 in one day.

To read the statement in full, click here.

Scotland is still on track to see Covid restrictions lifted next month, the Scottish government has said.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said the plan was for Scotland to move to level zero on 19 July, with remaining legal restrictions lifted on 9 August.

Ms Forbes said the data would be closely monitored, after it was revealed that Scotland has the highest Covid rates in Europe.

Northern Ireland

The Department of Health has reported another 570 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, with no further deaths.

The regulations will be reviewed on or before 8 July 2021. As of this afternoon, there have been no additions made but you can find the current regulations here.

Dr Gerry Waldron, head of health protection at the PHA, said: “We really want people to continue to exercise caution and restraint to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Unfortunately, we have in recent days seen an increase in cases in the younger age group,” he said.

“This is a group which is less likely to have received both doses of the vaccine and with the increasing number of Delta cases in Northern Ireland, which we know to be much more transmissible, we are urging everyone to be sensible, enjoy the summer months, but do so safely.

“Over the next few days there will be temptation to get out and enjoy the warm weather and celebrate, but if we see large numbers gathering or people abandoning public health advice, we could see a sharp increase in cases, so we all need to act with caution.

“Whether you are attending a bar, restaurant, hotel or friend’s house, make sure to stick to public health advice and behave responsibly. It is also important not to move beyond what the guidelines permit at any given time or to take advantage of differing circumstances.

“This is the best way to help keep Covid-19 case numbers down and ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of easing lockdowns as safely as possible.”


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