Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister
We have introduced local restrictions in 15 local authority areas and in Llanelli to control rapid and sharp increases in coronavirus cases. These restrictions are formally reviewed every week and we did so again yesterday.
The first restrictions came into force in Caerphilly borough almost a month ago, with the most recent in North Wales a week ago.
The general trend in Wales is a worsening situation and most areas where local restrictions are in place have reported a seven-day trend where covid-19 cases have increased. However, there are some encouraging signs of stabilisation in the local authorities in the Gwent region, in Llanelli and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Working closely with local authorities and public health experts, we have concluded the public health context means it is too soon to lift the restrictions, and they will be in place for at least another seven days.
However, I am mindful that our cautious approach must also be proportionate. It is vital that whenever we place restrictions on the liberty of people to meet family and friends we think carefully about the conditions we would need to see – and the approach – for easing those restrictions.
Following meetings with local government, the police and colleagues from the NHS yesterday, a range of potential measures were discussed, through which local restrictions could begin to be eased in areas where circulation of the virus is consistently falling. These must now be taken forward with other local authorities and public health leaders. We must also take into account announcements expected by the UK Government on Monday, which could have a direct impact on those local council areas which lie along the border between Wales and England. I will make a further statement once those discussions and announcements have taken place.
We have been closely monitoring cases of coronavirus in Gwynedd where we have seen a significant cluster of cases develop in the Bangor area – the incidence rate stands at around 400 cases per 100,000 people. Cases appear to be closely associated with young people and the student population.
In the wider local authority area, there is evidence of transmission of coronavirus throughout the county but the incidence rate varies from 152 cases per 100,000 in Arfon, which includes Bangor, 55 cases per 100,000 people in Dwyfor and 18 cases per 100,000 people in Meirionydd.
The Health Minister, Minister for Housing and Local Government and myself met the local authority, the university, the police, NHS and public health experts to discuss the situation in Bangor and Gwynedd and whether local restrictions are needed to control the spread of coronavirus and protect people’s health.
Following extensive discussions, we have concluded based on the source of the transmission and fact that the majority of the cases are currently clustered around Bangor, we will be introducing local restrictions – similar to those in place in other parts of Wales – in Bangor initially.
These restrictions will come into force at 6pm on Saturday October 10.
We will have further discussions with the local authority and the incident management team on Saturday about the wider situation in Arfon and Dwyfor.
By making the right choices and following the rules, we can reduce the prevalence of the virus. For now we must ask that residents of these areas continue to show the resilience that has characterised our efforts to date.
I continue to be very grateful to the people of Wales for all the efforts they have made and continue to make.