Bangor to go into local lockdown on Saturday

091020 bangor
Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Bangor will go into lockdown this weekend following a sharp rise in cases, the Welsh Government has announced.

From 6pm on Saturday, people will not be allowed to enter or leave the area without a "reasonable excuse" and can only meet people they do not live with outdoors, it said.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in the eight wards that make up the city of Bangor.

The Pentir ward, which includes parts of Penrhosgarnedd and is the site of Ysbyty Gwynedd, is not covered by the restrictions.

It comes in response to a "significant cluster of cases" with outbreaks appearing to be "closely associated with young people and students", the Welsh Government said.

The incident rate was around 400 cases per 100,000 people, it added.

It said there is evidence of transmission of coronavirus throughout the county but the incidence rate varies from 152 cases per 100,000 in Arfon, which includes Bangor, to 55 cases per 100,000 people in Dwyfor and 18 cases per 100,000 people in Meirionydd.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "While large parts of Wales are now subject to local restrictions, I want to be clear – this is not a national lockdown. These are a series of local restrictions to respond to rises in cases in individual areas."

“It’s always difficult to make the decision to impose restrictions but we hope that these measures will make help to control the spread of the virus. It is important we all work together and support each other. This isn’t just about protecting ourselves, it’s about protecting each other.”

The Welsh government said the new restrictions will be kept under regular review and they will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

What does a local lockdown mean?

  • People are unable to enter or leave their areas without a ''reasonable excuse'', such as work or education.

  •  People can only meet others that they do not live with, outdoors.

  • They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households, with the exception of temporary bubbles for single people and single parents.

The restrictions will be in addition to the rules that apply everywhere in Wales, including:

  • All licensed premises must stop selling alcohol at 10pm

  • Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas.

In a statement, Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams MP and Siân Gwenllian MS said the restrictions were "sadly inevitable."

They said: "We would appeal to everyone to respect these new restrictions and further urge local people across the remainder of Arfon to take extra care."

Fifteen counties are currently subjected to the restrictions, which prohibit people from entering or leaving an area without a reasonable excuse such as work or education.

Leader of Gwynedd Council, Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn said: "We fully appreciate that this action will have an impact on the people and businesses of the city. But by taking these steps now, we will hopefully be able to avoid stricter and more disruptive measures further down the line and get Bangor back to normal as soon as possible.

“Whilst these measures are currently limited to Bangor due to the rapid increase in cases in the city, there can be no room for complacency for any Gwynedd resident."

Mr Drakeford said that where local restrictions had been in place for longest - in parts of south-east Wales - there was evidence that Covid-19 was "beginning to come under control".

In Blaenau Gwent, there were more than 300 cases of the virus per 100,000 people, but this has now reduced to less than 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Mr Drakeford said the Welsh Government was "actively exploring the next steps" with local authorities in such areas, but the pattern was not yet stable enough to lift restrictions.

On Friday, Public Health Wales said there had been a further 766 cases of coronavirus and two deaths of people with the virus.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Wales to 29,028 and deaths to 1,646.