Wales will this week enter into a two-week lockdown it was announced on Monday, with Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford urging the nation to “come together” and “play our part in a common endeavour”. The timing of the “sharp and deep” lockdown is to coincide with half-term for schools.
The restrictions will require people to stay at home and non-essential businesses like pubs and shops to be closed.
The “sharp and deep” lockdown will be brought in to coincide with the school half-term.
The decision follows a report from the Welsh Government’s Tactical Advisory Group (TAG), which said a lockdown would “massively reduce” COVID-19 transmission in Wales and prevent hundreds of deaths.
On Monday, Mr Drakeford said the lockdown was the best chance the country had of regaining control of the virus and avoiding “a much more damaging national lockdown”.
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He told the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 press briefing in Cardiff: “The window we have within which we have to act is only a small one. And to be successful, we need everybody’s help.
“Here in Wales, this is the moment to come together – to play our part in a common endeavour.
“To do everything we can, together, to protect the NHS and to save lives. And if we do this, our health service will be able to care for people with coronavirus, and everybody else.”
He added: “Of course this will not be easy. But if we act together, we can succeed.”
Under the lockdown, people will be asked to stay at home and to leave only for a limited list of reasons, including to obtain essential supplies, exercise, to seek or provide care, and to attend school.
People will be encouraged to work from home if possible, with the exception of critical workers.
A document published for the public by TAG on Monday estimates the R value in Wales is currently estimated to be between 1.1 and 1.4.
Forecasting by Swansea University has estimated with an R value of 1.4, there would be 2,500 COVID-19 deaths between October 12 and December 31.
However, with a two-week lockdown, this estimate falls to 1,540 deaths in the same period – almost 1,000 lower than without any action being taken.
From Friday, all non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses will close “just as they had to during the March lockdown”.
Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will also close, while places of worship will be shut, other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies.
Childcare facilities will stay open, with primary and specialist schools reopening after the half-term break.
Secondary schools will also reopen after half-term for children in years seven and eight, as well as the most vulnerable students.
Mr Drakeford said pupils will be able to go in to take exams but others will learn from home for an additional week.
Universities will give a mixture of in-person and online learning, but students will be told to stay at their accommodation.
People will not be able to meet indoors or outdoors with anyone they do not live with, with exceptions for those living alone.
Gatherings are banned, including Halloween and fireworks or Bonfire Night celebrations.