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Hairdressers reopen and primary pupils return to schools in Wales

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Hairdressers and barbers in Wales will reopen from Monday for the first time in 2021, as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The change marks the first lifting of rules for close contact services since Wales entered lockdown on December 20, with businesses like nail parlours and beauty salons expected to remain shut until at least April 12.

Welsh Government regulations say that hairdressers can only serve customers with an appointment, and that their services will be restricted to haircuts only.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Friday that hairdressing businesses would be allowed to reopen because they have “gone through everything that is needed in order to operate safely”.

Monday will also see primary school pupils return to classrooms for the first time this year, joining those in foundation years who returned last month, while face-to-face teaching will also resume for learners in years 11 and 13.

Teachers can also invite learners in years 10 and 12 back to school in order to support their learning, while all other years will be allowed to “check in” with teachers on a limited number of days before a full school return from April 12.

It comes after Wales’ “stay-at-home” restrictions were lifted on Saturday, as the country moved to a “stay local” period, with travel restrictions expected to be eased further in time for Easter.

Wales’ seven-day case rate on Sunday stood at 39 cases per 100,000 people, the lowest of any country in the United Kingdom.

Public Health Wales said a total of 1,113,498 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been given, an increase of 29,169 from the previous day, while 257,398 second doses were also given, an increase of 7,372.

There were a further 217 confirmed cases, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 206,405, while 10 further deaths took the total in the country since the start of the pandemic to 5,452.

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