The public health situation is continuing to improve across Wales as cases of coronavirus fall.
Current case rates:
Overall, the seven-day average rate has reduced to around 50 cases per 100,000 people – and all local authority areas in Wales are continuing to report fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 people.
The R number remains below 1 and the positivity rate has fallen to 5.4%.
The latest figures show the overall number of people in hospital with coronavirus continues to fall and yesterday there were fewer than 450 people with confirmed coronavirus in hospital across Wales – the lowest number since 17 October.
As more people are vaccinated in Wales, we may be seeing a faster-than-anticipated fall in the number of people admitted to hospital.
The Welsh Government will be taking a careful and gradual approach towards lifting the restrictions, starting with our priority of getting children back into school.
We will also be following the very clear advice from the experts to monitor the changes we make for their impact on infection rates.
This is particularly important as we emerge from this lockdown because the highly infectious Kent strain of the virus is now the most dominant form of the virus in Wales.
A number of other new variants have emerged overseas:
• To date, there have been 24 cases of the South African variant in Wales.
• Detailed investigations have identified the majority of cases have links to international travel.
• Investigations are continuing into a handful of cases. They include targeted testing of close contacts to identify the source of infection and prevent any further spread.
For the last few weeks, we have been working with a reduced supply of vaccine.
Wales currently have the best vaccination rate in the UK and a greater proportion of people in Wales have had both doses of the vaccine in Wales than in any other part of the country.
Last weekend, we passed the milestone of a million vaccinations administered in the first three months of the programme.
The next review of COVID restrictions will take place next Friday, 12th March. The Welsh Government will continue their careful and gradual easing of restrictions to ensure cases do not jump again. In the weeks to come, we should see action on non-essential retail, some close contact services, a review of the stay at home order and potentially self-contained accommodation for the Easter break.