Second firebreak lockdown 'likely' in Wales early next year, minister says

Wales entered a 17-day firebreak lockdown on Friday. Credit: PA Images

A second firebreak could be required in Wales by January or February next year, the deputy minister for economy and transport has said.

The lockdown - which began on Friday and is set to last for 17 days - came after a steady rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

Lee Waters said the Welsh Government was trying to "flatten the curve" of the second wave of Covid-19 but could not stop the virus from spreading entirely.

He acknowledged that people were "thoroughly fed-up" of restrictions, with frustration and anger directed towards the government making the decision.

"That is inevitable and I'm afraid it's going to get worse. This is not the last lockdown we're likely to see," he told BBC Wales' Sunday Supplement.

"I think the projections in the papers we've published on our worst-case scenarios shows it's likely we're going to need to have another firebreak in January or February."

  • First Minister Mark Drakeford on another potential firebreak

On Sunday, the First Minister told ITV News that people adhering to firebreak restrictions over the next two weeks "will give us a pathway to Christmas".

But he added: "In the new year, who knows what position we will face?

"If things were to be again as serious as they are in Wales today, nobody can rule out us needing to take further extraordinary measures.

"But if we do, it will be because it is the only way that we are able to deal with this deadly virus."

Figures released on Sunday showed there were 1,104 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Wales, and a further five deaths.

Cardiff city centre on the first full day of the firebreak. Credit: ITV Wales
  • When does the firebreak lockdown begin and end?

The new restrictions came into force from 6pm on Friday 23 October and remain in place until Monday 9 November, which includes the school half-term holiday.

The lockdown will span three weekends in total. First Minister Mark Drakeford said the lockdown would not be extended past 9 November.

  • When can people leave their homes?

People will only be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including to obtain essential supplies for their household, to exercise, to seek or provide vital services (such as care or medicine), and to attend schools that reopen after half-term.

You must work from home if you can. People who are not able to work from home, but are able to work safely in their workplaces, can do so - provided their workplace remains open.

Visiting a cemetery, burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay your respects is also allowed. This will allow people to do so on Remembrance Sunday, which is to be held on Sunday 8 November - one day before the restrictions end.

Attending ceremonies for weddings, civil partnerships, and funerals will be permitted, as well as attending court hearings, or to access services provided to victims or imminent victims of crime or domestic abuse.