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COVID-19: Wales lockdown extended for three weeks, with youngest pupils returning to school on Monday

Written by on 19 February 2021

Lockdown in Wales has been extended by at least another three weeks in an effort to get its youngest pupils safely back into school from Monday.

Children aged between three and seven will be back in classrooms in Wales from next week, as will some vocational students in colleges.

Young children are considered the least likely to transmit COVID-19, but have the most difficulties when it comes to remote learning, while students such as apprentices are required to prepare for practical exams.

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Schools need to ‘make up for lost ground’

Later today, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford will announce there will be no changes to the current lockdown restrictions, with the stay-at-home rules set to be extended to allow children to get back in the classroom.

Mr Drakeford will also talk about “encouraging green shoots of recovery” in an effort to get all pupils back into schools by 15 March, should coronavirus cases continue to plummet.

Coronavirus infection rates in Wales are at their lowest point since September, with the seven-day average now at 84 per 100,000, with a third of adults having at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The government will next review the nation’s regulations in three weeks’ time, where the reopening of non-essential retail and close-contact services will be considered to try and revive the country’s economy.

All four British nations have so far continued their latest lockdowns while the vaccine rollout carries on apace.

On Thursday, Public Health Wales said a total of 822,633 people have had the first dose of a vaccine, while another 290 positive cases of the virus were reported.

There was also a further 14 coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the latest reporting period, taking the country’s total to 5,189.