Local lockdowns introduced in three more Welsh areas

27 September 2020, 14:01 | Updated: 27 September 2020, 14:09

Further Welsh Towns Facing Regional Coronavirus Lockdown
Further Welsh Towns Facing Regional Coronavirus Lockdown. Picture: Getty

By Joe Cook

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that three more areas of south Wales will be going into local lockdown from 6pm on Monday.

Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and The Vale of Glamorgan will enter local lockdown from Monday evening amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

In addition to the new announcement, over half the population of Wales will already be under stricter restrictions from 6pm on Sunday, as local lockdowns come into force in Wales’ two biggest cities, Cardiff and Swansea.

The rules mean people won't be able to enter or exit the areas without a reasonable excuse such as work or education and cannot meet up indoors either.

People can still meet those from outside their household outdoors, in groups of up to six people.

More than a quarter of the UK population are currently under stricter local lockdown rules, as the virus resurges across the country.

Various levels of increased restrictions are already in force across large swathes of north-west England, West Yorkshire, the North East and the Midlands, as well as parts of west Scotland.

Mr Drakeford’s announcement comes after he told LBC’s Matt Frei on Saturday that he had only had “one, relatively brief” conversation with the Prime Minister since May 28 – something he says “isn’t good enough.”

The First Minister said this could be because Boris Johnson is “incredibly busy,” but also said there are “some voices in the Conservative government who having found out that devolution exists after 20 years, find they don’t much like it.”

London was added to the Government’s list of areas of concern following a rise in cases in the city.

It comes as the UK recorded its highest single-day figure of coronavirus cases, with 6,874 lab-confirmed cases.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) infection survey suggested the number of coronavirus cases across England has jumped 60% in one week.

This representative survey by the ONS assuages any concerns that it is an increase in testing that is resulting in the higher case numbers.

On Monday, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told a press conference that there could be 50,000 coronavirus cases per day next month, leading to 200-plus daily deaths, if the rate of the disease's spread was not tackled.

The First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Following a worrying rise in cases of coronavirus across South Wales, we took action on Friday to introduce local coronavirus restrictions in Llanelli and local restrictions will come into force in our two largest cities– Cardiff and Swansea – tonight.

“We are now taking further action and placing three more areas under local restrictions in South Wales – Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen, and the Vale of Glamorgan – because we are seeing rising rates in these three areas. These areas also share borders with local authority areas where rates are much higher.

“Introducing restrictions in any parts of Wales is always an incredibly difficult decision for us to make. But we’re acting to protect people’s health and to try and break the chain of transmission and stop the situation from getting worse.

“This is not a regional lockdown – this is a series of local restrictions in each local authority area to respond to a specific rise in cases in each area, which have distinct and unique chains of transmission. In some places, such as Caerphilly and Newport, we have seen really positive falls in response and we hope they can begin to be relaxed if they continue.

“It’s really important everyone follows the rules where they live. We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”