Are vaccines being administered in Wales?
Wales achieved its target of offering coronavirus vaccines to everyone in its first four priority groups on Feb 12.
Mr Drakeford said the milestone was a “truly phenomenal effort” for the country’s vaccine rollout, which has so far seen 684,097 people receive their first dose.
The Welsh Government previously said it would offer vaccines to those in the first four priority groups – residents and staff in care homes for older adults, frontline health and social care workers, all people 70 years old and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals – by the middle of February.
Health minister Vaughan Gething said: “Every vaccine given to someone in Wales is a small victory against the virus, and we are already looking ahead to meeting our next milestone.”
Mr Gething added “not everyone in these groups will have attended their appointment yet”, and that “some will not have responded and some will have chosen not to have the vaccine”.
Are schools closed?
Schools and colleges in Wales are closed and will remain so until February half term at least.
But, the Education Minister Kirsty Williams has told the Welsh Government briefing that children aged three to seven will return to school from Feb 22.
“We have been clear that our children’s education is a priority throughout this pandemic,” she said.
“Sadly, we are not yet in a position to be able to see a full return to school for every learner.
“However, thanks to people following our national guidance, there is sufficient headroom for us to bring back some of our learners in a phased, flexible and progressive way.”
Mark Drakeford told a press conference in Cardiff on Jan 29 that he was “very keen to give two clear weeks’ notice” about plans for children to return to school.
The First Minister said he understands the “anxieties” that school staff have about students returning to face-to-face teaching in Wales.
“We will do everything we can in the week ahead to work with the teacher unions and other staff who work in schools to put whatever we can in place to make sure that that workplace is as safe as it can be.
“It’s partly why we talked today about starting with the very youngest children – children who are the least likely to suffer from coronavirus or to spread it to other people.
“We have to work together on this agenda because we have a common aim of trying to repair the damage that has been done to the education of our young people during the 12 months that have just gone by.”
The Government had previously arranged for schools to have flexibility over the first two weeks of the spring term, allowing them to choose when students would return to in-person learning.
However, due to the high numbers of seriously ill people in hospitals in Wales, the Government closed all schools before the return of students in early January.
Schools are only open for vulnerable students and children of critical workers.
Universities will continue to offer both in person and online classes, but students must stay home in their university accommodation under the new rules – except for limited purposes such as exercise, and must work from home wherever possible.
What about exams?
Wales’ GCSE, AS and A-level exams due to take place in summer 2021 have been cancelled, Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced on Nov 10.
Mrs Williams said it was impossible to guarantee a level playing field because of the impact of coronavirus, so grades will be based on externally set classroom assessments under teacher supervision.
Can I travel to Wales after lockdown?
England is currently in a national lockdown, meaning incoming and outgoing travel to other countries is banned until mid-February to prevent further cases of the variants entering the country.
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said on Feb 3 that 13 cases of the South African variant had been identified in Wales, an increase of 3 from the previous week.
Under the current lockdown restrictions you may only leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
Scotland has also brought in a “stay at home” order and closed it’s borders, meaning travel is off the cards between all the devolved nations.
Mr Drakeford said: “Coronavirus doesn’t respect borders – we all have a part to play in keeping Wales and the UK safe. Please think carefully about where you are going and what you are doing. This virus thrives wherever we come together with others.”