Covid protection rules throughout Wales have finally been shown the door by First Minister Mark Drakeford following this afternoon’s announcement from the Senedd.

After over two years of adhering to stringent regulations, every covid rule will expire on Monday, May 30 including the requirement to wear a face covering in health and care settings.

“This three-week review of the coronavirus regulations is a significant milestone, he said.

“The pandemic has had a profound impact on all our lives and everyone has made sacrifices and changes over the last two years.

"It’s thanks to all your efforts that we can move beyond the emergency response and still live with the virus.”

But in the past week, the four UK chief medical officers have warned about the risk from new variants – BA.4 and BA.5.


The First Minister said that Wales will remain alert to any new variants which emerge, including the BA.4 and BA.5, and is ready to scale up testing and vaccination arrangements if the public health situation changes.

“Continuing to take simple steps, including staying up to date with vaccinations and self-isolating if you have Covid symptoms will be important in helping us all to enjoy a safer and brighter future together.”

Over the last three weeks the public health situation has continued to improve, with the latest results from the ONS Coronavirus Infection Survey showing that the percentage of people who are testing positive for coronavirus in Wales has fallen.

The number of Covid-19 related patients has also fallen to less than 700 and is at its lowest level since 28 December 2021, although the NHS remains under pressure from a combination of emergency and pandemic pressures with a significant number of staff absences.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement on the end of all legal Covid requirements in Wales from Monday, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, said: “It’s positive to see the public health situation gradually improving in Wales, with cases of Covid coming down across our communities.

“The pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives over the last two years and many people have had to make considerable sacrifices. We can’t thank people enough for everything they have done to help stop the spread of the virus.

“Despite it no longer being a legal requirement to wear a face covering in health and care settings, it’s still strongly advised due to the vulnerable nature of people in these settings.

“However, the ending of Covid regulations does not mean the NHS is no longer under a huge amount of pressure. Demand for services across the whole system (GPs, pharmacies, social care, community care as well as urgent and emergency care) is higher than ever before as staff do all they can to try to make up ground lost.

"We ask that people think about which services they need to use, going to NHS 111 online as a first port of call."