THE final domestic coronavirus restrictions in England will be lifted within weeks, with people no longer required to isolate even if they test positive for Covid-19.

Boris Johnson announced his intention to scrap the legal duty later this month, as long as “encouraging trends” in the data continue.

But we will have to wait until tomorrow's Welsh Government Covid briefing to find out if Wales will make a similar move.

It is the Welsh Government that sets rules relating to Covid and self-isolation in Wales - usually following a three-week review cycle.

Rules were relaxed three weeks ago in Wales, with First Minister Mark Drakeford and other ministers saying there would be no significant additional changes announced before Friday.

The First Minister has said that the Welsh Government is taking a more measured approach to easing restrictions.

Three weeks ago, Mr Drakeford said: "Three weeks is a very long time with regards to covid. If things continue to improve then there would be an active debate on whether the covid pass is still a proportionate part of the measure that we want to have in place.

"We'll keep doing what we always do - we'll look at the measures, we'll ask for advice on whether the covid pass is still part of our defences and if the answer is 'yes' we'll continue with it.

"If things have improved to the point when it's no longer part of necessary measures then we'll respond to that advice as well."

The move in England came as Mr Johnson sought to bolster support within the Tory party after a bruising period for his leadership.

Downing Street said the move “shows that the hard work of the British people is paying off” but scientists and campaigners raised fears about the impact the change could have on clinically vulnerable groups.

The Prime Minister said he will present his plan for “living with Covid” when Parliament returns from a short recess on February 21, with an aim of lifting the requirement to self-isolate within days of that.

The current self-isolation regulations expire on March 24 but Mr Johnson told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions that “provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions – including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive – a full month early”.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are the freest country in Europe thanks to the strong defences we have built.

“We’re learning to live with Covid.”

The move will see Covid-19 treated in a similar way to other infectious diseases such as flu, with people encouraged to stay at home if they were ill.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We would never recommend anyone goes to work when they have an infectious disease.”

The prospect of the removal of the remaining restrictions, which also include the ability for councils to order the closure of premises where the virus could be spreading, has caused unease for some of those most at risk from the disease.

Phillip Anderson, head of policy at the MS Society, said ending the restrictions will “heap yet more worry and confusion on thousands of immunocompromised people”.

“In the face of callous silence from a Government that should be focused on protecting them, they could feel forced to further isolate themselves from others, putting their wider health, wellbeing and livelihoods in danger.”

James Taylor from disability equality charity Scope, said: “Scrapping self-isolation will mean that some disabled people will be feeling very anxious and could potentially be placed in situations that could prove deadly.

“Nobody should be forced to gamble with their lives, and we need the Government to explain to disabled people how they’ll be safe when this decision is introduced.”

The UK Government’s plan is expected to set out further information for vulnerable groups but officials also believe “cutting edge treatments” will also mitigate some of the risks.

Here in Wales, Covid has not gone away.

More than 1,300 new Covid cases have been recorded in Wales.

In Wednesday's update from Public Health Wales, it was reported that there had been 1,388 positive tests in the latest 24-hour period.

17 additional Covid-related deaths were also recorded.

Of the new cases in Wales as a whole, 271 were in the Betsi Cadwalader University Heath Board region here in North Wales.

Wrexham reported the most (81) followed by Flintshire (67).

This was the highest number of cases in a single region, followed by 256 in the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board area.

What changed in Wales on Friday, January 21:

  • Crowds are able to return to outdoor sporting events
  • There will be no limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities and events
  • Outdoor hospitality will be able to operate without the additional measures introduced in December, such as the rule of six and two metre social distancing

What changed in Wales from Friday, January 28:

  • Nightclubs can re-open
  • Businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus
  • The general requirement of two metre social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces will be removed
  • The rule of six will no longer apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres
  • Licensed premises will no longer need to only provide table service and collect contact details
  • Working from home will remain part of advice from the Welsh Government but it will no longer be a legal requirement

What could be announced for Wales on Friday:

  • Mask and face covering restrictions in Wales could be eased
  • Whatever happens, for many continuing to wear the coverings might prove to be a decision for them to make individually
  • The timeline for the potential removal of the covid pass follows a similar timeline, with February 10 the key date in potentially seeing a change