The Welsh Government has announced that it will lift restrictions on large events and businesses over a phased period starting from next week.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford (pictured) said, “The data and the science is saying to us…that we appear to have passed the peak of omicron and are coming down very rapidly on the other side.”

While the alert level 2 measures implemented on Boxing Day will be lifted during the phased return to alert level 0, and limits on outdoor events to 50 people will be lifted first, the requirement to use Covid Passes will remain.

The Welsh Government said that on 21 January full-capacity audiences will be allowed at major outdoor events, including the Six Nations in Cardiff.

The closure of nightclubs and the rule of six for pubs and restaurants is expected to be overturned by the end of January.

Drakeford said that the measures had enabled the country to be “in the more benign position we’re in today”.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said, “Finally a common sense approach from the Welsh Government. Following intense campaigning from the industry and trade bodies we have put an end to the uncertainty.

“While we are relieved that we finally have clarity on Welsh Government’s intentions, it has come at a cost to businesses, staff and supply chain. It is difficult to accept that we remain subject to Covid passes for nightclubs in Wales. They were sold as the solution to nightclubs and similar settings remaining open, and that they are an effective way of managing transmission within these environments.”