The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Sir Frank Atherton is reminding people to follow simple steps to protect themselves from the risk of catching COVID-19.
This includes getting vaccinated, wearing face coverings in crowded indoor settings and taking a lateral flow test if you have symptoms.
His comments come as coronavirus cases are once again increasing in Wales. The latest ONS figures estimate one person in every 30 has COVID-19.
Cases of the omicron subtypes BA.4 and BA.5 have increased across the UK, with BA.5 now the dominant form of coronavirus across Wales.
Sir Frank said:
The pandemic has not gone away. While we are learning to live safely with it, we still need to think about taking the simple steps to help keep us safe and limit the spread of coronavirus.
The successful roll-out of the vaccine has significantly reduced cases of serious illness, however the virus is still spreading quickly in our communities.
Whilst it is no longer mandatory, people should still wear a facemask in health and care settings and in crowded indoor places and remember all the other simple steps they can take to stop the spread, particularly around more vulnerable people.
People can continue to keep each other and Wales safe by:
• Getting vaccinated
• Maintaining good hand hygiene
• Staying at home and limiting your contact with others if you are ill
• Wearing a face covering in crowded indoor settings
• Meeting others outdoors wherever possible
• When indoors, increase ventilation and let fresh air in
The Welsh Government has extended the availability of free lateral flow testing until the end of July.
Next week the Welsh Government will update its vaccine strategy with details of the next booster dose in the autumn.
The Chief Medical Officer added:
The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. While the vaccine does not completely stop transmission it offers protection against serious illness and reduces the risk of hospitalisation.
You can still get the vaccine if you haven’t had your full course or you were too ill to get your spring booster and I would encourage parents to think about getting the vaccine for their children over the summer months to help minimise any disruption to their education during the autumn and winter terms. We will shortly be publishing plans for roll out the autumn booster in Wales.
Some of our hospitals are reporting increased COVID-19 cases and have taken the decision to restrict visiting at the moment. If you are visiting a health setting, please wear a mask and if you are feeling unwell please only visit an emergency departments if it is a real emergency. You can get advice from NHS Wales 111 on the phone or online and your local pharmacist can also provide advice and medicine.