Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
We have introduced local restrictions in Caerphilly borough and Rhondda Cynon Taf to control a rapid and sharp increase in coronavirus cases in those two areas.
We have been closely monitoring the developing situation in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport – the rates in these areas are now higher than the Welsh average.
We been working closely with the local authorities and public health experts, which have been meeting daily to review the position in each area and what measures are needed to control the spread of coronavirus. In many of these areas, local actions have already been taken by local authorities, including restricting visits to care homes, encouraging people to work from home wherever possible and asking people to limit journeys on public transport.
However, as cases have continued to increase, we now need to introduce local restrictions in each of these areas to protect people’s health and control the spread of coronavirus.
From 6pm on Tuesday September 22, the following local restrictions will come into effect for people living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport local authority areas:
- People will not be allowed to enter or leave their local authority areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education.
- People will only be able to meet outdoors. People will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors or form an extended household.
- All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm.
- Everyone over 11 must wear face coverings in indoor public places – as is the case throughout Wales.
We will keep these measures under constant review and they will be formally reviewed in two weeks’ time.
From 6pm on Tuesday September 22, we will also be extending the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm in Caerphilly borough.
The initial restrictions in Caerphilly borough were introduced almost two weeks’ ago and will be formally reviewed this week. The seven-day rolling incidence rate in Caerphilly borough has shown some positive movement downwards and we are cautiously optimistic that the restrictions are having an impact.
The additional restriction in relation to licensed premises will strengthen the position further and bring consistency across the areas subject to local restrictions.
Our ability to make a difference to the spread of the virus rests in all our hands – we can only do this together. Every one of us has a responsibility to make the right choices and to follow the measures, which will keep us and our loved ones safe from this infectious and harmful virus:
- We all need to keep our distance from each other when we’re out and about.
- We need to wash our hands often.
- We need to work from home wherever possible.
- We need to wear a face covering in indoor public places.
- We need to stay at home if we’ve got symptoms and while we’re waiting for a test result.
- And we need to follow any restrictions in place locally.
A large proportion of the population of South East Wales will now be living under local coronavirus restrictions.
The First Minister and I will call an urgent meeting of all local authorities, health boards and police forces in South Wales – from Bridgend to the English border – to discuss the wider regional situation and whether further measures are necessary to protect people’s health, prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep Wales safe.
I hope to make an oral statement tomorrow to keep Members fully informed of the latest developments.