Wales to impose fresh Covid lockdown rules from Christmas Eve

Fresh lockdown measures are to be imposed in Wales beginning on Christmas Eve, the first minister, Mark Drakeford has announced.

All non-essential shops, plus leisure and fitness centres and close-contact services, will shut at the end of trading on Thursday 24 December.

Hospitality premises, including pubs and restaurants, will close from 6pm on Christmas Day.

The first minister also said: “Here in Wales, the advice of the Welsh government is that only two households should come together to form an exclusive Christmas bubble during the five-day period.

“That is how serious it is in Wales.” Pressed over whether this was a rule or advice, he said: “The message is the same.”

On 28 December, tighter restrictions for household mixing, staying at home, holiday accommodation and travel will apply. This new set of “level 4” restrictions will apply to the whole of Wales.

Drakeford said more than 2,100 people – equivalent to five full general hospitals – were in Welsh hospitals with Covid symptoms. The number of people in intensive care with coronavirus is at the highest level during this second wave, at 98.

He said: “The situation we are facing is extremely serious. We must move to alert level 4 and tighten the restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus and save lives.”

Drakeford added that extra steps would be taken in the run-up to Christmas. “Everyone who can work from home should do so now,” he said. “Working from home is one of the most important contributions we can make.

“Local authorities will now take decisions about the range of services they provide, such as libraries, leisure centres and recycling centres ahead of Christmas.”

The Guardian

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