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Wales will go into a national 2-week 'firebreak' coronavirus lockdown from Friday

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/19/2020 insider@insider.com (Adam Bienkov,Thomas Colson)
Mark Drakeford wearing a suit and tie: Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister. Getty © Getty Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister. Getty
  • Wales will go into a two-week national coronavirus lockdown from Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Monday.
  • Drakeford said pubs, restaurants, and nonessential shops would close.
  • Primary schools will return after the half-term holiday, but only younger students in secondary schools will be allowed to return, he said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Wales will go into a two-week "firebreak" coronavirus lockdown from Friday, closing pubs, restaurants, and nonessential shops.

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the news on Monday following a surge in coronavirus infections in the country.

The lockdown will start at 6 p.m. on Friday and end on November 9, he said.

"This is the moment to come together, to play our part in a common endeavor to do everything we can together to protect the NHS and to save lives," Drakeford said.

"This will not be easy, but if we act together, we can succeed," he said.

He added: "We are all tired of coronavirus and the many rules and regulations with which we have to live our lives. We all want to see an end to this pandemic and our lives returned to us once again. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a vaccine, which will allow that to happen.

"And a firebreak period is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a much longer and much more damaging national lockdown. The window we have within which to act is only a small one."

Most indoor and outdoor gatherings with people not in the same household will be banned, he said.

Primary schools will reopen after the one-week half-term holiday, due to start on Friday, but only the first two years of students in secondary schools will return, Drakeford said.

Wales followed Northern Ireland in announcing measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the UK.

Over 2 million of the 3.1 million people living in Wales are living under lockdown measures, but the Welsh Labour government has said they are vital in controlling the spread of the virus and preventing the National Health Service from being overwhelmed.

"This firebreak is the shortest we can make it, but that means that it will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus," Drakeford said.

Wales also last week barred visitors from coronavirus hot spots in the UK, most of them in northern England.

The wave in coronavirus infections in the UK that began as restrictions were eased over the summer has illustrated differences in approaches between the devolved governments and Downing Street.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown, insisting that localized restrictions must be tried first.

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