Covid: Christmas could still be cancelled in Wales as 'nothing off the table'

Omicron cases are now present in every health board in Wales. Credit: PA Images

Christmas could still be cancelled in Wales, as the Welsh government confirms new regulations are not off the table.

Speaking at a coronavirus press briefing today (14 December), health minister Eluned Morgan said the Omicron variant is now present in every health board in Wales.

Asked whether new regulations could be introduced before Christmas, Ms Morgan said: "The last thing we want to do is to cancel Christmas, I think it's important we make that absolutely clear, but we are not currently taking anything off the table either.

"So the best thing for people to do to see if we can remain in a situation where we're all able to see each other over Christmas is to take precautions now so we don't see the kind of increase in rates that we are expecting.

"A lot of this is in our hands as individuals and as a community - clearly the more you mix now the more likely you are to contract Covid, and this particular form of Covid.

"At the very minimum we will be asking people to take lateral flow tests before they mix at Christmas, but that is something they should already be doing, in particular if they're meeting older or vulnerable people."

Asked about what a best case and worst case scenario for Christmas could look like, Ms Morgan said she was unable to provide more detail given the "fast-moving nature of the situation".

However, depending on case rates, she said: "We will try and keep our communities and our society open because we think there's a responsibility to do that - this is not just about Covid being a harm, there are other economic, social and mental health harms that we need to consider alongside this."

Ms Morgan also provided more information about the booster roll-out in Wales.

The Welsh Government calculates that around 40,000 jabs will need to be administered daily to reach the target of offering everyone over 18 the chance to book a jab by the end of the year.

Ms Morgan continued: "Expanding the booster programme is a massive undertaking. We’ll need to more than double the speed of the programme if we’re going to be successful.

"We’re asking a huge amount of the NHS – we’re asking staff to cancel leave and to work in clinics day and night up to and through Christmas to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of weeks."