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15 May 2020

Wales publishes plan for leaving lockdown as Drakeford bemoans “stop-start” communication from Westminster

By Samuel Horti

The Welsh government has published its plan for leaving lockdown – but has not set any dates for lifting restrictions.

The current “stay at home” advice will remain for at least another two weeks, First Minister Mark Drakeford said.

The plan, called “Unlocking our society and economy: continuing the conversation“, sets out a traffic light-style system for lifting lockdown across different parts of society, such as schools, businesses and seeing family. Each section will gradually move from lockdown to red, then amber, then green, with restrictions lifted at each stage. Different sections of society will open up at different speeds.

For example, for schools and universities, the country is currently in the red zone. Moving to amber will involve “priority groups of pupils” returning to schools in a “phased approach”, and an increased number of children in childcare. At the green stage, all children will be able to access education. The government’s aim is for at least some pupils to return to school before summer holidays.

Drakeford said he preferred not to set specific “arbitrary” dates for easing restrictions. The UK government has outlined rough dates for different stages of its plan for lifting lockdown.

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He also criticised the lack of discussions between his administration and Downing Street. Communications from the UK government had been “a fits-and-starts experience”, he said. “I’m afraid this week has been one of the stops in the stop-start process.”