BREAKING Wales to have two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown amid coronavirus rise

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Wales will enter a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ national lockdown on Friday in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed the country will enter the “fire-break” lockdown, coinciding with the school half term, following a surge in cases.

It will start on Friday at 6pm and last until November 9.

He said: “There are no easy choices in front of us as the virus spreads rapidly in every part of Wales.

“We know that if we do not act now it will continue to accelerate and there is a very real risk that our NHS would be overwhelmed.

“The number of people taken to hospital with coronavirus symptoms is growing every day. Our critical care units are already full.

“This fire-break is the shortest we can make it, but that means it will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have."

Everyone in Wales will be “required” to stay at home, except critical workers and people in jobs where working from home is “simply not possible”.

Pubs, bars and all other hospitality businesses will close – along with all non-essential retail, leisure and tourism businesses.

Mr Drakeford said children will remain the “top priority” and education “must continue”.

Childcare facilities will remain open, while primary and special schools will reopen as normal after the half-term week.

Although secondary schools will reopen after half-term, they will only be for pupils in years 7 and 8, with other students to learn from home for the extra week.

People will be banned from gathering indoors or outdoors with others they don’t live with, with an exemption for adults living alone and parents.

Places of worship will also be closed for normal services other than funerals or wedding ceremonies.

Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will also shut.

The Welsh Government met this morning to make the final decision after receiving advice from experts.

Wales has seen nearly a thousand daily cases for three of the last five days.

Figures showed 16,982 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK on Sunday.

Of these, almost a thousand were in Wales.

There are currently 17 areas in Wales that have already been placed in local lockdown, including Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.

Mr Drakeford last week announced a “fire-break” – a short, sharp version of the lockdown earlier this year – was being considered to stem the rise.

However hospitality chiefs warned the Welsh circuit-breaker could put jobs at risk for nearly a third of their 140,000-strong workforce, the BBC reported.

The 40,000 people employed in their supply chain would also be at risk, they added.

David Chapman, executive director in Wales of industry body UK Hospitality, said: "It's going to be a really difficult time and I can see a lot of business going to the wall.

“I can see jobs being shed as furlough is coming to an end.

“We need full support, if we don't get support now we are going to lose people in large numbers.

"We could lose up to 40,000 jobs which will be a massive impact in many rural and coastal communities.”

  • Pubs
  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus

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