COVID: New cases are falling but easing of restrictions unlikely


January 22, 2021

Things are improving in Wales and daily cases of Covid are falling, said First Minister Mark Drakeford in his weekly Coronavirus briefing earlier.

However, although figures are painting a more positive picture across the country, including in North Wales, Mr. Drakeford was quick to say that cases were still relatively high and that tough restrictions were likely to remain in place for some time.

He spoke about on going pressures in an already stretched Welsh NHS and concerns that new cases could very quickly increase again if restrictions were lifted too soon. A review of restrictions and the Covid plan for Wales will take place next week.

The news coincides with today's update from Public Health Wales which reports 67 deaths and 801 new cases of the virus - one of the lowest daily figures since before Autumn and the Tier 4 lockdown.

In North Wales, 281 new cases were recorded including 77 in Flintshire, 76 in Wrexham, 43 in Denbighshire, 37 in Gwynedd, 27 in Anglesey and 21 in Conwy.

Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:

“We are increasingly confident in the data which is showing a consistent downward trend in the numbers of positive cases in Wales.

“However, the numbers of cases is extremely high, and this is placing extreme pressure on our NHS Wales hospitals.

“The new variant of Coronavirus prevalent in many parts of Wales is up to 70 per cent more transmissible, so it is still vital that everyone continues to remain vigilant, by staying at home and sticking to the rules.  This way we will avoid adding to the pressure on hospitals and will keep people safe.

“All of Wales remains in lockdown. We ask that the public adopts the same mindset for this lockdown as they did in March 2020. We understand that people are fatigued but because the new, more infectious variant of coronavirus is circulating across Wales it is vital that we all keep to the lockdown restrictions and do not meet other people.

“This means that you must stay at home. If exercising outdoors, please do this alone or with members of your household or support bubble only. Shop online, but if you do need to visit essential retail then do this alone, if possible, to minimise numbers of people in retail spaces, and avoid stopping to chat with people outside your household. If you must leave home keep your distance, wash your hands regularly, and wear a face mask when required according to the regulations.

“Public Health Wales urges everyone to follow the rules, to avoid transmission of Coronavirus and to protect everyone in our communities, including the most vulnerable.  

“Public Health Wales is working with UK partners to investigate and respond to the new variant of coronavirus identified in Wales. The new variant is easier to spread and the public should remain highly vigilant in measures to prevent transmission including maintaining social distancing, regularly handwashing and wearing of face coverings. Though the new variant is more infectious, there is no evidence that it leads to more severe disease.

“UK nationals returning home from travel abroad must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure.

“Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including internationally, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

“If you are due to travel out of the UK, please be aware of the changing situation and keep an eye on the FCO website for up to date details. 

“Public Health Wales is working closely with the Welsh Government as they deploy Coronavirus vaccinations through local health boards. Welsh Government is leading on the deployment of the vaccine in Wales.

“Vaccinating the adult population of Wales, to protect people from severe disease, is a significant task, and the vaccine will take time to reach everyone. The effects of the vaccines may not be seen nationally for some time, and we must continue to follow the advice on keeping Wales safe. 

“Members of the public should not phone your GP, pharmacy or hospital asking when they will get a vaccine. When someone is in one of the groups eligible for the vaccine, they will be invited to attend a dedicated clinic which will have been set up to ensure patient safety and that of the healthcare professionals.

“If you or a member of your household develop a cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, you must self-isolate immediately and book a free Coronavirus test, either by calling 119 or by clicking here."