Coronavirus: Cardiff and Swansea go into lockdown putting half of Wales under enhanced restrictions

270920 swansea and cardiff PA Images collage
Credit: PA

Cardiff and Swansea have entered local lockdown which means half the population in Wales are now under extra coronavirus measures.

Tougher restrictions mean people in the two cities are not be able to visit the homes of others or leave the area without a reasonable excuse.

Similar measures came in to force in nearby Llanelli on Saturday at 6pm.

The tightening of rules comes after rising coronavirus cases in the area.

The range of measures are as follows:

  • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse

  • All licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm.

On Sunday the First Minister said the latest measures have been put in place because of the rising rates.

Mr Drakeford said: "This is a series of local restrictions in each local authority area to respond to a specific rise in cases in each area, which have distinct and unique chains of transmission. In some places, such as Caerphilly and Newport, we have seen really positive falls in response and we hope they can begin to be relaxed if they continue."

Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “We do not take these steps lightly. The Council has been closely monitoring the infection rates in Cardiff throughout this crisis, alongside health experts and Welsh Government, and we’ve already moved earlier this week to restrict visits to Hospitals and Care Homes.

Cardiff and Swansea will go into lockdown at 6pm on Sunday. Credit: PA Images

"In taking this course of action we’ve had to weigh up the economic damage, the social cost, the impact on mental health. But we’ve seen in the past what can happen if there is a delay in bringing measures in.

"Delaying by a matter of days could mean many more lives could be lost."

Residents can check if they live in one of the restricted areas by visiting the council website and searching their post code.

Ministers will also meet public health experts and local authority leaders over the weekend to consider whether restrictions need to be extended to Neath Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen on Sunday evening.

Andrew RT Davies, the Shadow Health Minister, called the news "disappointing".

People living in Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport are already in lockdown, which means roughly 1.5 million people will be in lockdown after the weekend.

Plaid Cymru's Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said the Welsh Government should "seriously consider" the earlier closing of pubs and bars in other areas "to help avoid further county-wide restrictions."

 He said: “The domino effect of local authority areas being closed doesn’t have to be inevitable, but will become so if more far-reaching preventative measures are not brought in.

“The hyperlocal response to restrictions in Carmarthenshire make sense when transmission is concentrated in just the Llanelli area, but this should be applied consistently. Could the Llantrisant area, with its relatively low case numbers, have been left out of the tight RCT-wide restrictions, for example?”

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he wants more regular and reliable contact with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to coordinate a response to the pandemic.

Speaking on LBC on Saturday, he said that other than conversations in the last week the last time he spoke to Mr Johnson was in May.

When asked why there had only been “sporadic” contact, Mr Drakeford said: “Well, taking a generous view, the Prime Minister is incredibly busy, he has a big range of responsibilities and we are all reacting to very quickly changing circumstances.

“I think there’s another explanation, which is that there are some voices in the Conservative government who have found out that devolution exists after 20 years, found they don’t much like it, think it will be much better if we returned 20 years and all the decisions were made in Whitehall, and would rather not be spending their time talking to us very much.”