On 4 March, the Welsh Government published Together for a Safer Future: Wales’ Long-term Covid-19 Transition from Pandemic to Endemic, setting out a gradual transition away from emergency measures. Under it, Wales’s response will change under the two core planning scenarios – Covid Stable and Covid Urgent. The Government expects Covid Stable to be the most likely scenario. Wales is expected to encounter new waves of infection but not so severe that they will put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
The plan sets out a gradual, phased approach towards the long-term management of the virus under Covid Stable, including:
- supporting people to maintain behaviours to help reduce the transmission of all respiratory infections, not just COVID-19;
- vaccination boosters in spring for the elderly and most vulnerable adults and a regular COVID-19 vaccination programme from the autumn;
- gradually moving the Test, Trace, Protect programme away from universal and routine symptomatic and asymptomatic testing and the requirement to self-isolate, to a more targeted approach aimed at vulnerable people;
- adaptation of public services, including, for example, using local risk assessments and outbreak control plans; and
- businesses and other employers building on the elements of infection control that they have put in place to protect staff and customers.
Contingency planning is also under way to enable the Welsh Government and other public services to quickly respond to a Covid-Urgent scenario – such as a new variant that evades the vaccine – if necessary.
The next three-weekly review of the Coronavirus Regulations will be carried out by 24 March, when the remaining legal measures at alert level 0 will be reviewed.