People in Wales encouraged to minimise travel to reduce Covid-19 spread

The First Minister asked people to consider whether their journeys were ‘essential’.

People in Wales encouraged to minimise travel to reduce Covid-19 spread

The First Minister of Wales has called for people to minimise travel to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Mark Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament that reducing the amount of journeys and meetings with others resulted in “less danger” being posed.

Further restrictions in Wales are expected to be confirmed later, following an announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on changes coming into force in England.

Wales is “considering” whether pubs should close by 10pm, be table service only, and potentially whether they are only able to open if they serve food, health minister Vaughan Gething confirmed.

Mr Drakeford said the Welsh Government’s approach to lifting previous lockdown measures had been “at a different pace and in a different way to that across our border”.

He told the Senedd this meant Wales starts “in a very different place” to England, with many of the measures spoken about by Mr Johnson already in place in the country.

People in Wales have been encouraged to work from home throughout the pandemic and that message will be “reinforced” later, Mr Drakeford said.

Four areas of south Wales – Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Blaenau Gwent – will be placed under local lockdowns from 6pm on Tuesday.

Under the restrictions, which are already enforced in Caerphilly county borough and Rhondda Cynon Taf, people must not enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse.

Merthyr Tydfil will be one of four areas to go into local lockdown at 6pm on Tuesday (Ben Birchall/PA)
Merthyr Tydfil will be one of four areas to go into local lockdown at 6pm on Tuesday (Ben Birchall/PA)

There will be six areas in local lockdown from Tuesday evening due to a rise in cases, but in 10 local authority areas the rate of coronavirus is still falling, he said.

Mr Drakeford said there was a “blended approach” in Wales, with national measures such as encouraging people to work from home.

“I will want to say something later today about trying to encourage people in Wales only to make those journeys that are really necessary,” Mr Drakeford told the Senedd.

“In Caerphilly and the other local authorities where local lockdown measures are concerned, you can’t leave the county borough without a good reason for doing so, but beyond that I think every one of us should be asking ourselves: ‘Is that journey really essential?’

“Because the fewer people you meet and the fewer journeys you make, the less danger you are posing to yourself and others.

“So, I think that as a message to people everywhere about minimising travel and staying close to home as much as you are able to is another brick in a national wall that we can build.”

Shoppers wearing masks in Caerphilly (Ben Birchall/PA)
Shoppers wearing masks in Caerphilly (Ben Birchall/PA)

People in the areas subjected to local lockdown restrictions are only able to meet outdoors and are unable to meet members of their extended household indoors.

All licensed premises have to close at 11pm.

On Tuesday, a further 281 positive cases of coronavirus were recorded in Wales.

Of those cases, 77 were in Rhondda Cynon Taf, 34 were in Bridgend, 30 were in Cardiff, 28 were in Swansea and 20 were in Merthyr Tydfil.

Dr Giri Shankar, of Public Health Wales, said: “The council areas of Cardiff, Swansea, the Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire are all areas of concern to us and we are watching the data from there carefully, but numbers of cases are increasing in all parts of Wales so there is no room for complacency in any area.

“We are also seeing an increase in the number of people who are seriously ill and have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19.”

No further deaths were reported on Tuesday, with the total number of deaths in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,603.

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