Coronavirus spread in Wales a result of 'chatting in pubs and homes'

Emily Cleary
·2-min read
Close-up of a social distancing sign in the village of Portmeirion in North Wales, UK - in both the Welsh and English languages.
The spread of coronavirus in Wales has been caused by people chatting in homes and pubs, Public Health Wales has said (Getty images)

The spread of coronavirus in Wales is a result of people mixing in private homes and pubs, the Welsh Assembly has been told.

The country’s first minister told a press conference that the latest figures for coronavirus show how “necessary” it was to introduce a national two week firebreak lockdown.

Speaking in Cardiff, Mark Drakeford said that the rate of COVID-19 in Wales had reached more than 220 cases per 100,000 people.

“In Merthyr Tydfil, the seven-day incidence rate has exceeded 600 cases per 100,000,” he said.

CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 21: A sign warns of the Wales "firebreaker" lockdown which starts on October 23 and ends on November 9 on October 21, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. Wales will go into a national lockdown from Friday until November 9. People will be told to stay at home and pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops must shut. Primary schools will reopen after the half-term break, but only Years 7 and 8 in secondary schools can return at that time under new "firebreak" rules. Gatherings indoors and outdoors with people not in your household will also be banned. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Wales is entering the second week of a planned "firebreaker" lockdown which will run until 9 November to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

“Today, a further 1,700 cases of coronavirus will be confirmed but the actual number of infections will be much higher.

“The number of people with coronavirus in hospital is at its highest point since the end of April.”

Drakeford said 1,191 people were in hospital with coronavirus-related symptoms, which is up 20% from the same point last week.

Chris Williams, of Public Health Wales’ data analysing surveillance team, said most cases had nothing to do with venues making mistakes and were simply down to how people behaved.

"It's not to do particularly with the nature of the pub or the bar," he said.

CARDIFF, WALES - OCTOBER 27: Aisles blocked off in a B&M Bargains store on October 27, 2020, in Cardiff, Wales. The Welsh Government has issued an updated list of goods, which includes baby clothes, it said could be sold. It said people should also be able to ask for things not on the list "by exception". Pressure has mounted on the Welsh Government to reverse the decision to prohibit supermarkets from selling 'non-essential' items. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
The Welsh Government has restricted what items may be sold in supermarkets during the two week firebreaker lockdown (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

"It's just the fact that you're talking to someone across a table who's in a different household. Talking, unfortunately, is great for transmission, as is singing and shouting."

The Welsh firebreaker lockdown has been set for a specific time - to run from Friday 23 October at 6pm until the morning of 9 November - in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 across Wales.

The purpose of the lockdown is to slow transmissions by limiting social contact, while also limiting damage to the economy.

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Under the Wales firebreak lockdown everyone is required to stay and work at home with the exception of critical workers and those in jobs where working from home is not possible.

There is a ban on different households mixing unless two households have formed a support bubble, and all non-essential shops have closed, with supermarkets restricted on what ‘essentials’ they are allowed to sell.

Hospitality businesses such as cafes, restaurants and pubs – unless they provide delivery and take away services - leisure centres and tourism facilities are closed, and community centres, libraries and places of worship are also shut.

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