MARK Drakeford said he can see a "path into the spring" where it will be possible to ease some lockdown measures.

The first minister said the number of people infected in Wales was continuing to go down.

If that continued, he added, then there was a possibility in spring that the Welsh Government would "be able to restore freedoms to people".

However, Mr Drakeford said it was a "big if" due to new variants and other unknowns moving forward.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the first minister said: "Here in Wales, numbers of people infected with coronavirus continue to go down.

"If that can be sustained over the weeks to come then we can see a pathway into the spring in which we will be able to restore freedoms to people that they’ve had to go without while we’ve been in this second wave.

"But that is a very big if because there are so many unknowns, new variants that are happening in different parts of the world that could make a difference here in the United Kingdom.

"But with vaccination, and with numbers falling, provided we reopen society carefully and cautiously and don’t allow the virus to get away from us again, we can see a path into the spring where it will be possible for us to go back to doing some of the things that we’re all missing so much.”

Mr Drakeford said Easter was an “important moment” for the tourism and hospitality industry in Wales and the Government was “talking with them about what might be possible”.

The announcement came on the day the Welsh Government revealed they had become the first country in the UK to hit their first coronavirus vaccination milestone.

Mr Drakeford said everyone in the top four priority groups in Wales will have received “invitations to come in” for a Covid-19 jab “at the very latest over the weekend”.


Asked how many in those top four priority groups would not have had a vaccine by the end of the weekend, the first minister told BBC Breakfast: "It will be a very small number – we’ve already completed 92% of all the people in those priority groups, thanks to the amazing efforts of our NHS and other staff.

“There will be some people who were ill when they were first offered who will need to be rebooked, there will be some people who chose not to have a vaccine when they were first offered it who may have changed their minds.

“Our NHS has been making enormous efforts this week to contact anybody who we haven’t yet heard from to make sure that if they want a vaccination, they will get it either today or, as I say at the very latest, it will be completed at the weekend.”

He added that the Welsh Government was “confident” it would vaccinate the top nine priority groups by the spring and aimed to reach the rest of the population by the autumn.