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Social distancing could continue in Wales for the rest of the year, the first minister has said.

Mark Drakeford said it remained one of the "strongest defences" against Covid.

The warning comes after the news outdoor sporting events and concerts can resume from Monday for up to 10,000 people sitting or 4,000 standing.

Extended households can also expand to include a third and up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens.

But, Mr Drakeford said he was "not certain there is a huge thirst" for people to give up safeguards, including the 2m social distancing rule.

"I think they will remain part of the repertoire here in Wales during the rest of the summer, and maybe into the rest of this year," he told a coronavirus press briefing.


"Whether we will be able to move from them being mandatory to just [things] we advise people about will depend on whether we continue to see improvements of the position here in Wales."

what is changing on 7 June
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Allowing more people to meet indoors was ruled out until at least late June, as other lockdown rules were eased.

The decision to delay comes amid "growing concern" over the Delta variant, first identified in India, and the Welsh government said the delay was designed to allow more people to get vaccinated.

There are currently 97 cases of the variant in Wales, up 67% compared with the previous week.

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Mr Drakeford said: "The risk of infection is significantly less outdoors than it is indoors. This is why we are phasing in the changes in this three-week cycle.

"This will allow more people to enjoy events outdoors and take advantage of the Welsh summer, while we continue to roll out the vaccination programme to all adults."

However, he added: "We have to be realistic. The fact that the Delta variant is spreading so quickly in the north-west of England will mean that it will cross the border into Wales.

"That is why we are delaying some of the measures we might otherwise take to maximise the amount of vaccination that we can carry out because that is our best defence against that new variant."

The lockdown measures will be reviewed again on 21 June.

A graphic showing Covid cases across Wales
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Who can meet indoors in Wales?
The changes - described as a phased move to Wales' alert level one - will begin from Monday.

It means three households are able to meet indoors and have physical contact - but each household can only meet one other at a time.

A further household with a single adult, or single adult with caring responsibilities, will still be able to join extended households.

Further rule changes on indoor activity will be considered by the Welsh government before 21 June - when an ending to restrictions in England may happen.

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Pubs and restaurants have been allowed to serve customers inside from 17 May, however, the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective has called for all significant restrictions to be lifted before July, including scrapping the 2m social distancing rule.

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