Warning to 'celebrate differently this year' as pandemic puts a stop to New Year's Eve parties

Normal New Year's celebrations cannot go ahead because of the current lockdown restrictions. Credit: PA Images

People are being told to stay at home this New Year's Eve as coronavirus means usual celebrations cannot take place.

Welsh Government have warned that "no New Year's party is worth the risk" while Gwent Police encouraged people to "celebrate differently this year".

Coronavirus transmission rates are still high across most of Wales and the whole country is currently under a strict, alert level 4 lockdown.

The measures mean hospitality businesses are closed apart from for takeaway and people are not allowed to mix with those outside their household or bubble - putting a stop to large New Year's gatherings.

The Welsh Ambulance Service reminded people that they should only be leaving their home for essential journeys.

New Year's Eve is traditionally a busy time for the service. They received 946 emergency calls alone during the night last year.

Director of Operations for the Welsh Ambulance Service, Lee Brooks, said: "The entire healthcare sector is currently under extreme pressure and we strongly urge you to keep 999 and hospital emergency services free for only the most serious injuries and illnesses.

“You can do this by not taking any unnecessary risks around the home, only consuming alcohol moderately and of course not hosting or attending any gatherings."

He added that people should take extra care if they are planning on using fireworks in the gardens this evening.

New Year's Eve is traditionally a busy time for police and ambulance services. Credit: ITV

The Medical Director of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said New Year's parties will impact "on the people we love" and ultimately lead to an increase in deaths.

He added that the situation for hospitals is already dire and that he has "never seen it so difficult". Hospital beds at the health board are already full, despite all routine procedures having been cancelled.

Police forces across the country also joined the call for people to behave safely. Gwent Police force said people should "do the right thing...and celebrate differently this year by staying home".

Wales entered its third national lockdown on 20 December in response to a new coronavirus variant. The measures were due to be introduced on Boxing Day but were brought forward because of mounting demand on the Welsh NHS and its hospitals.

Public Health Wales have warned their "services are under immense pressure" and one senior doctor warned that his colleagues are being "stretched to the limit".

The restrictions on non-essential journeys, businesses and social gatherings are intended to limit the spread of the virus and bring down the number of critically ill Covid-19 patients.