Covid: Wales 'above reasonable worst case scenario', health minister tells LBC

20 December 2020, 13:18 | Updated: 20 December 2020, 13:27

By Joe Cook

The welsh health minister has told LBC’s Swarbrick on Sunday the coronavirus situation in Wales is “above the reasonable worst case scenario”, with “really difficult days ahead”.

Field hospitals are taking patients in multiple areas of Wales, Vaughan Gething told LBC, with the army helping in some areas.

“We’re currently tracking for confirmed cororonavirus cases above our reasonable worst case scenario,” he explained.

“We have over 1,500 confirmed Covid patients in all beds in Wales. The reasonable worst case scenario was we might reach that point by Christmas Day, so we have hit the Christmas Day peak 6 days early.”

Read more: Wales goes into new lockdown with mixing allowed only on Christmas Day

Mr Gething added that there are around 200 intensive care beds filled, above a normal capacity of 152 beds.

“We are having to restrict our services to redeploy staff so we can actually staff those beds in a critical care setting. So that is how serious it is already,” the health minister added.

“That is why we really need people to recognise that the moment of risk and threat that we face really does require a national response and we all need to play our part.”

Read more: What is the new strain and are there different symptoms?

Read more: Scotland also announces strict Christmas rules

Ysbyty'r Seren field hospital on Bridgend Industrial Estate is taking patients.
Ysbyty'r Seren field hospital on Bridgend Industrial Estate is taking patients. Picture: PA

Wales entered a strict new Tier 4 lockodwn from midnight on Saturday, with festive bubbles of two households now only applying on Christmas Day.

Non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality are now closed, with evidence suggesting the new strain is prevalent throughout Wales.

Read more: Matt Hancock: 'November lockdown didn't work,' can't say when Tier 4 will end

The rise in Covid cases has created a “hugely concerning” and “deeply troubling” situation in hospitals, Mr Gething told LBC.

“You can’t carry on as if everything is normal when this is happening as well.

“That is why we are having to reduce other treatment and that will cause frustration and harm for some people, but if we don’t do that then our service could get overrun.”

Read more: Tier 4: Extra police in London to crack down on non-essential travel

The welsh health minister added: “We are still asking our staff to put themselves in harm’s way, while some people are still opposing and not wanting to buy into the level of threat that we face.

“So we have got really difficult days ahead of us, but as I say, we can all be part of the answer.”

Read more: Italy joins list of countries banning travel from UK over mutant Covid-19 strain

Although the field hospitals are currently being staffed by health and social care workers, Mr Gething said “anything is possible” when asked by Tom how much involvement the army may have.

“We have already got some assistance from armed services with the ambulance service, in terms of turning around and re-preparing vehicles, he explained”

“We have got assistance over a whole range of things. They really have been incredibly supportive and ‘can do’ throughout this.”