Monday, 26 Oct 2020

Another 500,000 people plunged into lockdown as Wales gets new restrictions

More than half a million residents in North Wales will be put into local lockdown following a surge in coronavirus cases, the health minister has announced.

New restrictions will be introduced in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham from 6pm on Thursday.

People will no longer be permitted to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education.

They will also be banned from mixing indoors with other households but can meet outdoors for the time being. The recent spike in transmission has largely been blamed on people socialising indoors.

Another 12 of 22 Welsh local authorities are already under tighter restrictions and the new areas added to the list mean there will be more than 2.3 million people affected.

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Announcing the restrictions, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: ‘Large parts of Wales will now be subject to local restrictions but I want to be clear – this is not a national lockdown.

‘These are a series of local restrictions to respond to rises in cases in individual areas.’

First Minister Mark Drakeford has also asked Boris Johnson to urgently consider imposing travel restrictions in areas of England with high levels of coronavirus infections.

In a letter to the PM, Drakeford said people living in Covid-19 hotspots in England are still allowed to travel long distances and risk ‘spreading the virus well beyond their locality’.

He wrote: ‘I ask that you give urgent consideration to the introduction of similar travel restrictions in the current high infection areas of England to those we have here in Wales.

‘This would be a significant step in lessening the risk that we collectively face, and give communities in border areas considerable reassurance that we are taking every possible step to protect them.’

‘Although we have implemented different policy responses in the four nations of the UK at different times during this pandemic, and, of course, this will continue, I urge you to consider these additional measures as part of our shared aim of public health protection for all four nations,’ he added.

Flintshire has been the worst hit out of the latest areas put into lockdown in Wales, after recording 40.4 cases per 100,000 in the most recent weekly toll.

The UK recorded its highest ever number of cases in a 24-hour period on Tuesday.

Another 7,143 tests were returned positive across the UK, while the daily death toll reached its highest figure since July 1 with 71 people dying with the virus.

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