Covid: Blaenau Gwent has highest virus infection rates in week after Christmas

People wearing masks in Cardiff in front of Christmas sign
Credit: PA Images

Data has revealed that Blaenau Gwent had the highest rate of Covid infection in Wales during the week after Christmas.

The local authority area had a rate of 2,937.7 coronavirus cases per 100,000 of the population between December 26 and January 1.

Monmouthshire was at the other end of the scale, with the lowest case rate of all Welsh local authorities at 1,428.1.

Blaenau Gwent was also third on a list of all the UK areas with the biggest week-on-week rise in infection rate. Two places in Northern Ireland topped that list.

With time taken into account for symptoms to appear, tests to take place and results to come back, it is likely that any increase in socialising over Christmas - and indeed New Year's - could still be reflected in data for the seven days January 2 - 8.

Credit: PA Images

Of the 377 local areas in the UK, 92% have seen a week-on-week rise in rates and only 8% have seen a fall.

An estimated one in 20 people in Wales had the virus in that same post-Christmas week. That is double the amount estimated by the Office for National Statistics in the week leading up to Christmas.

According to Public Health Wales, 21,279 new cases were recorded in Wales for the 48-hour period ending on the morning of Tuesday 4 January.

Covid infection rates per 100,000 people for all Welsh local authority areas between December 26 - January 1:

  • Blaenau Gwent - 2,937.7

  • Merthyr Tydfil - 2,894.5

  • Rhondda Cynon Taf - 2,875.5

  • Torfaen - 2,542.4

  • Neath Port Talbot - 2,442.8

  • Conwy - 2,379.3

  • Bridgend - 2,378.4

  • Caerphilly - 2,376.0

  • Swansea - 2,310.6

  • Newport - 2,292.8

  • Flintshire - 2,247.4

  • Vale of Glamorgan - 2,151.6

  • Cardiff - 2,072.3

  • Wrexham - 2,013.9

  • Denbighshire - 1,978.0

  • Gwynedd - 1,904.6

  • Carmarthenshire - 1,900.3

  • Isle of Anglesey - 1,898.1

  • Ceredigion - 1,793.0

  • Powys - 1,672.6

  • Pembrokeshire - 1,621.3

  • Monmouthshire - 1,428.1

Recent changes to the rules on self-isolation mean that anyone who tests positive now only needs to isolate for seven days, rather than ten. They must however ensure they return two negative lateral flow tests - one on day six and another on day seven - to leave quarantine on day eight.

Wales has also followed moves made in England on scrapping PCR testing for fully-vaccinated travellers coming from abroad.

Follow-up PCRs are no longer necessary for people who are asymptomatic but test positive via a lateral flow test.