A clampdown on alcohol sales and plea for people to only make essential journeys have also been included in measures to combat a sharp rise in cases
These are the coronavirus morning headlines for Wednesday, September 23, as First Minister Mark Drakeford announced new restrictions which people in Wales must follow in the bid to help tackle the spike in coronavirus cases.
He asked people to only make essential journeys as explained that pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales will have to shut at 10pm every night
Sales of alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets after 10pm will also be stopped while pubs must only provide table service.
It was also announced that people on low incomes who are forced to self-isolate will be offered a £500 support package.
Six local authorities in Wales are now in local lockdown, with Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil following Rhondda Cynon Taff and Caerphilly in a lockdown from 6pm yesterday.
Cardiff, Swansea, the Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire are now classed as “areas of concern”. You can see the coronavirus infection rates for every part of Wales here.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation to explain the six new rules for England, Mr Drakeford explained what it will mean for Wales.
In his address, Boris Johnson warned that Britain could face much tougher measures if new rules to curb coronavirus fail to get the infection rate under control.
On Tuesday evening, the Prime Minister said the nation faces an “unquestionably difficult” winter and warned the latest restrictions could last the next six months.
In a televised address the Prime Minister said “we must reserve the right to go further” if the pace of transmission continues to rise.
The new strategy for England will see office staff once again working from home, the wider use of face masks and a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.
Businesses will face £10,000 fines or closure for failing to comply with regulations, and people risk £200 penalties for failing to wear masks or breaching the “rule of six”.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon went further, imposing a ban on household visits from Wednesday.
And she suggested the tougher approach may mean the rules do not have to be in place as long as restrictions in England.
Tougher Covid-19 restrictions being imposed in Northern Ireland do not represent a second lockdown but should act as a wake-up call, First Minister Arlene Foster announced.
She announced that from 6pm on Tuesdah, there will be no mixing of households indoors and there would be a limit of six people from no more than two households, excluding children aged 12 or under, can gather in a private garden.
Wales’ largest caravan park closed with immediate effect as local lockdown is enforced in parts of Wales.
The owners of Trecco Bay caravan park in Porthcawl said the site was going into “hibernation” at 6pm on Tuesday, September 22, as local lockdowns come into force in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Newport.
Trecco Bay is Europe’s largest holiday park and falls within the Bridgend council area, forcing bosses to close the park with immediate effect.
Bridgend was one of four areas of Wales that were ordered to go into local lockdown at 6pm on Tuesday, along with Merthyr, Newport and Blaenau Gwent. Caerphilly and RCT were already in local lockdown. The rules mean that people can only enter or leave the area with a reasonable excuse.
Steve Richards, CEO of Parkdean Resorts, which owns Trecco Bay, said: “This closure will affect many businesses and jobs in Porthcawl who rely on the regular influx of tourists to the area and, of course it will mean many hard working Welsh people who account for over 90% of our guests, will now not be able to enjoy a well-earned break.”
In Tenby, Pembrokeshire Council has asked the police to investigate a coach load of holidaymakers from Bolton and the north-west of England due to arrive in Tenby on Wednesday after they were turned away from Porthcawl.
The coach rolled into Porthcawl on Monday only to be greeted by news that Bridgend County Borough Council was to go into local lockdown 24 hours later.
Instead of staying the four nights the hotel rearranged their stay and transferred them to a sister hotel in Tenby due to the restrictions that were due to come in to place.
Bolton is at the centre of local lockdown in northern England with an infection rate of 209 cases per 100,000 which was the highest in England at the start of September. In Pembrokeshire, the infection rate stands at just 5.6 cases per 100,000.
Care homes and hospital visits will be restricted in Cardiff as coronavirus cases in the city have risen.
A series of new measures are being introduced by Cardiff and Vale’ s Test, Trace and Protect Services (TTP) in a bid to stem the sudden increase in Covid-19 cases being seen across the two counties.
On Tuesday new cases in Cardiff rose to 27.5 (per 100k over 7 days) and to 22.5 in the Vale.
Chairman of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Charles Janczewski, said: “Each and every one of us has a personal responsibility to follow the simple rules to protect our families, friends, and the most vulnerable in our communities.
“If we all act responsibly and work together we can keep our local areas safe, our communities open and prevent increased lockdown measures happening here.”
An experienced doctor fears staff shortages in intensive care could cause real problems for the Welsh NHS as the country heads towards a second spike in Covid-19 cases.
Dr Richard Pugh, a consultant in intensive care medicine and chairman of the Welsh Intensive Care Society (WICS), said there has been no significant uplift in permanent critical care staff in Wales in the last six months.
To make matters worse, he claimed nearly all the NHS workers who were redeployed to help in hospital intensive care units during the first wave have now returned to their normal posts.
He said that staff morale in critical care has now taken a hit, with many dreading a surge of new Covid-19 infections and the demands it may impose upon their physical and mental health.
Major questions about the effectiveness of the coronavirus contact tracing app have been left unanswered, a charity has warned on the eve of its launch.
Failure to demonstrate how the technology has performed during testing risks denting public confidence as its success depends on uptake, the Health Foundation said.
The NHS Covid-19 app is set to be released across England and Wales on Thursday to support the NHS Test and Trace effort, following months of delays, technical hitches and privacy issues.
It uses Bluetooth technology to keep an anonymous log of those in close proximity to a user and can notify them if someone who was near them later tested positive for coronavirus.
The latest version of the app has been trialled on the Isle of Wight and in the London borough of Newham since mid-August.
The charity is concerned people have yet to see the results of these pilots and is calling for greater transparency around the development.
It also wants assurances the technology will not exacerbate existing health inequalities, leaving some people at greater risk of coronavirus than others.
Experts said that people who are infected but have no symptoms may have “comparable potential” for spreading the virus as those who have symptoms – including fever, a new and persistent cough and a new loss or change of taste or smell.
The findings support the use of face coverings among the general public, the study’s lead author said.
A team of researchers examined people who were at a community facility designated for the isolation of patients with mild Covid-19 in South Korea.
They evaluated patients’ symptoms as well as the amount of virus they were carrying – or their viral load – in their nose and throats.
Fifty MPs are supporting a charity’s call for a national day of reflection to mark the loss of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell, and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron are all backing the call, which comes six months on from the Covid-19 lockdown.
Since March 23, the end of life charity Marie Curie estimates that 1.4 million people have experienced a bereavement in England and Wales, based on research suggesting each death leaves an average of five people bereaved.
The charity says there is “desperate need” for a memorial day on March 23 2021, the first anniversary of the lockdown, so the UK can unite to remember those who have died and support their loved ones.
Labour has said ministers have “serious questions” to answer after reports emerged that a US firm which botched the handling of tax credits has been subcontracted to staff NHS Test and Trace services.
NHS Test and Trace is run by Serco and Sitel through a contract reported to be worth up to £108 million.
It has faced a barrage of criticism about performance and value for money in recent weeks.
Coronavirus tests have been unavailable in some areas, tracing of those who need to self-isolate has consistently been below the benchmark of 80% in recent weeks and only a third of people who turn up for a test in England are receiving results within 24 hours, according to the latest data.
Labour shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, speaking in the Commons last week, accused Serco of “failing to trace 80% of contacts” and asked the Government when “poor-performing outsourcing firms” could expect to see their contracts ripped up.
The party has now called into question the reported decision by Serco, who took on the contract in July, to hire Concentrix to provide staff for its operation.
Hundreds of students have been told to isolate after a suspected Covid-19 outbreak in halls of residence.
NHS Tayside is investigating a single positive case and a small number of suspected cases of coronavirus linked to private student accommodation, Parker House in Dundee.
Close contacts of the positive case, who is a student of Abertay University, are being contacted.
All 500 residents at the accommodation have been asked to self-isolate until further contact tracing has been completed.
Dr Daniel Chandler, associate director of public health, said: “We know from outbreaks in other university settings across Scotland that the virus can spread very quickly in student accommodation.
“Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we are contacting all residents of Parker House and advising them to self-isolate immediately.
“Further investigation and contact tracing are continuing and we will review this advice in the coming days.
“It is really important that any residents who develop symptoms book a test as soon as possible.”
News – Coronavirus headlines as pub and restaurant curfew is announced for Wales