Covid-19 cases rising in Wales: Have we stopped following the rules in the run up to Christmas?

Have we stopped following Covid restrictions in Wales? Credit: PA Images

Covid-19 cases are rising across Wales, with the First Minister warning that further restrictions could be introduced after Christmas as a result.

Data from the last seven days shows nine of Wales' 22 local authorities now have more than 500 cases per 100,000 people.

Warning that the NHS in Wales "will not be able to cope as it is today", First Minister Mark Drakeford explained: "Today in Wales, we are at alert level 3, the traffic light is red, the level of risk is very high.

"If the strengthened measures of last week and the extra action of this week - together with the efforts each and every one of us need to make - if those measures do not succeed in turning the tide of the virus then it is inevitable that we will have to consider a move to alert level 4 immediately after Christmas." 

Wales is currently at 'level three' of Covid alert level

So why are rates rising? Here is what a sociologist at Swansea University had to say.

  • Are people breaking rules on gatherings?

Dr Simon Williams, who specialises in people and behaviour said that "based on the numbers we are seeing across Wales we have no option but to conclude that people are mixing."

However, what is unclear at present is how, where, and why people might be mixing.

  • Is there a problem with people understanding what the current restrictions are?

Dr Williams stressed that the majority of people in Wales appear to be well aware of the risk of Covid-19.

However, he describes "alert fatigue" in many people, making them more likely to follow "their own rules" than stick to ever-changing restrictions.

More than 100,000 people in Wales have been confirmed to have coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Credit: PA Images

Dr Williams said nearly 90% of people believe that they are following the rules, but many might be struggling to follow changes in regulations.

He adds that, at this stage in the pandemic, many people have come to their own conclusions about how much risk they are willing to undertake. Many people will continue to act according to those conclusions.

  • Would people follow tougher restrictions?

The First Minister announced on Friday that another lockdown or tougher restrictions, may be introduced immediately after Christmas.

Dr Williams warned this news could have unintended consequences.

Some have already raised concerns about restrictions being loosened over the UK-wide five-day Christmas break.

The Welsh health minister has told BBC Breakfast while they could theoretically break away from England and introduce tougher restrictions before and over Christmas, it would cause a loss in trust.

He said: "There are huge issues here about trust in the government."