Coronavirus: Restrictions here for 'long haul', Drakeford says

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Current restrictions to limit the spread on coronavirus are likely to be in place for the "long haul", Wales' first minister has said.

Mark Drakeford said he had "no doubt" the current curbs on daily life would go beyond an initial three-week period.

It comes after England's deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries, warned restrictions could last up to six months.

Mr Drakeford added that any changes to rules would be "gradual".

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Speaking at the Welsh Government's daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Drakeford said: "There is no doubt at all that we are facing restrictions beyond the three weeks of the immediate period that we made on Monday of last week.

"I think there will be a gradual reduction in restrictions over time.

The first minister added: "We may need significant restrictions for longer than the original three weeks and beyond that period.

"There will be a time when we don't just go from everything being restricted to nothing being restricted.

"That's going to be a long haul, a difficult haul for individuals and businesses."

Mr Drakeford also said an antibody test that allows people to know whether they have had Covid-19 and therefore have future immunity will be rolled out as soon "as it has been validated".

"The first call for it would be for front-line NHS staff because, again, we want to make sure that as many of those are able to carry on working as possible.

"We will then extend it inside the NHS and and out to social care workers, and then we will move on to other groups beyond that."

Earlier on Monday, Wales' chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said lifting coronavirus measures would be "trial and error" and could lead to an increase in cases.

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