An updated version of Wales’ covid control plan will be published next week, the First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

The plan sets out in detail how national measures will be introduced in a more uniform and predictable way, depending on a range of indicators, including the level of the virus in Wales and the risk of infection.

It updates the approach to changing restrictions set out in Leading Wales out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and Unlocking Our Society and Economy. It will provide greater certainty for people and businesses about the restrictions, which are needed to protect people’s health and slow the spread of the virus.

Wales is currently at alert level three. The national measures were strengthened on December 4 in response to rapidly accelerating levels of coronavirus across Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

This has been a truly challenging year. The impact of coronavirus on us all – on all aspects of our lives – cannot be underestimated. Like almost every country in the world, we have put restrictions in place to control the spread of this deadly virus.

This updated plan shows how the national measures will be introduced in a more uniform way as we move through the pandemic, providing greater certainty for people and businesses.

The updated plan has been informed by latest analysis from our scientific and medical experts and the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). It has also been informed by the experience in other parts of the UK.

The plan sets out four alert levels – from alert level one to alert level four:

  • Alert level one (low-risk) – this represents the closest to normality we are likely to have before the summer and the widespread take-up of vaccinations.
  • Alert level two (medium-risk) – additional, targeted controls are put in place to maintain infection rates at lower levels. These may be complemented by more targeted local restrictions to manage specific incidents and outbreaks.
  • Alert level three (high-risk) – these are the strictest package of restrictions, short of a firebreak or lockdown.
  • Alert level four (very high risk) – restrictions at this level are equivalent to a lockdown and reflect the seriousness of the situation.

The First Minister said that if the strengthened national measures, together with the efforts everyone is making, do not succeed in reducing the rates of coronavirus, Wales will need to move to alert level four after the five-day Christmas period. But this move is not a foregone conclusion.

He added:

The most important thing we can all do to control the spread of coronavirus is to reduce the number of people are in contact with. This virus thrives on human behaviour – whenever and wherever we come together and spend time together, the virus can be transmitted from person to person.

The national measures will continue to be reviewed every three weeks, whatever alert level Wales is currently in.