WALES is unlikely to return to a regional approach to easing lockdown restrictions when the time is right, the First Minister has said.

Asked by the County Times during an online press conference for mid Wales, whether areas such as Powys could be in a position to see restrictions lifted earlier than others, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that although the capacity was there for that to happen, evidence suggests the Wales-wide approach to lockdown works best.

"The plan we published before Christmas does allow for a regional approach in Wales. I think so far our decision to do things on a Wales-wide basis has been vindicated.

"You will remember there were a lot of cries at the time to put North Wales into a different category and yet the numbers in North Wales have been the most difficult in recent times.

"There was a call for North West Wales to be in a different category and I remember telling the leader of Plaid Cymru that it was completely obvious to anybody that North West Wales was in a completely different settled position compared to the rest of Wales, and yet the numbers in Gwynedd continued to go up and up.

"I think the key thing about a regional approach is that you really would have to be certain a part of Wales had separated itself off from the rest of Wales in a way that was not just temporary but was going to last into the future.

"If that happens, our approach allows us to do that. At the moment I don't think there is the evidence and at the moment the plan is to continue to do things on a Wales-wide basis, but we have the capacity, if patterns change, to respond regionally."