Darren Adam 1am - 4am
First Welsh local lockdown to be introduced in Caerphilly
7 September 2020, 18:55 | Updated: 8 September 2020, 08:23
The Welsh Government has announced it will implement its first local lockdown in Caerphilly from tomorrow night following a rise in coronavirus infections.
People in the county borough will face new restrictions from 6pm on Tuesday due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
The local lockdown will prevent people from entering or leaving the area without a reasonable excuse, they will only be able to meet outdoors, and everyone over the age of 11 must wear a face covering in shops.
Everyone living within the Caerphilly County Borough Council area will be affected by the new measures, the Welsh Government said.
They will also prohibit people from having overnight stays in someone else's house, but individuals will be able to make a compassionate visit to a loved one or to give care.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the restrictions would be kept under review but if cases did not fall, additional measures would be considered.
It is absolutely essential that people follow these new restrictions. The more closely we follow them, the more we will slow the spread, the shorter this local lockdown should be. https://t.co/oPZa8upiYb— Cllr Ross Whiting (@RossAWhiting) September 7, 2020
There have been 133 new cases confirmed in the Caerphilly area over the past seven days, equivalent to a rate of 55.4 cases per 100,000 population - the highest rate in Wales and one of the highest in the UK.
Mr Gething said there had been a "significant rise" in cases over a short space of time, linked to holiday travel abroad, as well as people socialising indoors and not social distancing.
"A lot of these cases are in younger people and thankfully, at the moment, most of these are mild," he said.
"But coronavirus is now circulating in the community and it's only a matter of time before we start to see more serious cases, which need hospital treatment.
"We need the help of everyone in Caerphilly borough to prevent the increasing and onward spread of coronavirus.
"We can only bring this local outbreak under control if everyone pulls together and follows these new steps.
"If we do not see cases falling, we may need to take further steps to bring this local outbreak under control."
CAERPHILLY LOCKDOWN from 6pm tomorrow:— Delyth Jewell AS/MS (@DelythJewellAM) September 7, 2020
* People will have to stay within the borough
* Everyone over 11 will need to wear facemasks in shops
* People will only be able to meet outdoors
Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help: Delyth.Jewell@Senedd.Wales pic.twitter.com/QEqKBK2ET6
Community testing was introduced in the county borough over the weekend, with 450 people tested on Saturday, of which 19 had the virus - giving a positivity rate of 4% - which means the virus is circulating in the community.
Councillor Philippa Marsden, leader of Caerphilly Council, said: "We need to create a break in the cycle of infection we are seeing in Caerphilly borough at the moment and unfortunately that means introducing new, tougher restrictions.
"I would urge everyone living in the area to follow these new measures; to follow the social distancing guidelines and to wash their hands regularly."
The new restrictions will be enforced by the local authority and the police.
Meanwhile, a class of 21 pupils at St Gwladys Primary School in Bargoed, Caerphilly, were also told to self-isolate for two weeks after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.
On Monday, there were no further reported deaths of people who tested positive for coronavirus in Wales, health officials said, keeping the country's tally at 1,597.
Public Health Wales said the total number of coronavirus cases in the country had increased by 98, bringing the revised confirmed cases to 18,381.