'This is very bad' Warning from council leader as one in four tests come back positive in Neath Port Talbot

The leader of the council in Neath Port Talbot has warned a "severe number of fatalities" could happen if people in the community do not change their behaviour to control the spread of coronavirus.

Councillor Rob Jones told ITV Wales' health correspondent James Crichton-Smith that the situation is "very bad" in the area, with one in four people getting tested receiving a positive Covid result.

Latest figures from the last seven days show almost 1,000 tests were carried out in Neath Port Talbot - and a quarter of those came back as positive. This is the second highest rate in Wales behind Merthyr Tydfil, where mass testing is taking place.

Cllr Jones said he has concerns that the relaxation of rules over Christmas where three households can mix, will "present us with real problems".

"I make no bones about it, it's very bad.

"The health service is under pressure, and the pressures of winter haven't happened yet."

"With Christmas rules being relaxed, those few weeks in January are going to present us with real problems in terms of community transmission."

Watch the full interview:

As cases continue to rise in the area, he warned the local field hospitals may need to open back up. They have to be staffed with doctors and nurses, which Cllr Jones says other areas of the NHS "will suffer".

He said the field hospitals can be opened within 24 hours and warned "that button may need to be pressed" before Christmas.

"It scares me when I continue to see people in the community not modifying their behaviours.

"This is the one part of the year when they genuinely need to think of other people. They need to make sure their families are protected and safe, otherwise we're going to end up with a severe number of fatalities as a result of people's behaviours."

His comments come as the director of public health at Swansea By University Health Board warned the impact could be "catastrophic".

There is a warning hospitals in the local area will struggle to cope with more Covid admissions Credit: PA

Dr Keith Reid from Swansea Bay University Health Board said he feared only another lockdown in Wales before the Christmas period would be enough to save the local system from being "overwhelmed" if rates continued to rise.

On Monday, Dr Reid said: "We are at a critical stage. Infection rates are at record levels and we all need to play our part to bring this situation under control and quickly."

"If infections continue to rise at the current rate then without another lockdown before Christmas the local system will be overwhelmed."