Covid restrictions in Wales such as a limit on the number of people who can attend a sporting match and curbs on hospitality businesses may be lifted by the end of the month.
The first minster, Mark Drakeford, will set out a two-week plan on Friday to ease restrictions that have been in place since Boxing Day.
The move will be phased, with restrictions on outdoor activities lifted first, and could be halted if the public health situation worsens. But as long as cases do not rise dramatically again, it seems likely that crowds will be allowed back for the Six Nations rugby tournament, which begins in February.
Wales is in “alert level 2”, meaning nightclubs are closed, a maximum of six people can meet in a pub and only up to 50 people can watch outside sporting events or take part in an activity such as parkrun.
The Tories in Wales have claimed the stricter conditions have made the country an “outlier” while the night-time industry has been highly critical of the restrictions it is operating under.
Drakeford will set out how Wales plans to move back to alert level 0 at his weekly press conference in Cardiff.
In a statement the administration said: “The Welsh government is able to start removing the protections put in place in response to the Omicron wave, thanks to the support of people across Wales and the successful booster campaign – more than 1.75 million people have had the extra booster dose. The move to alert level 0 will be phased, with restrictions on outdoor activities being removed first.”
Earlier on Thursday the Welsh health minister, Eluned Morgan, said she hoped Wales was reaching the Omicron peak.
Giving evidence to the Welsh parliament’s health and social care committee, she said: “There are some very positive signs, I’m pleased to say, in terms of us possibly turning the corner, which would be a huge, huge relief.”