By Tony O’Riley-
A second coronavirus lockdown could be enforced in Wales within weeks unless people change their behaviour, the country’s health minister has said.
Vaughan Gething warned that the pattern of increasing cases meant that action had to be taken to prevent significant harm or another full lockdown.
The number of new coronavirus cases in Wales increased by 183 on Monday – the largest rise in daily cases since May 19 – bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 19,573.
New restrictions came into force on Monday, making the wearing of face coverings mandatory in public indoor spaces, and banning more than six people from an extended household from meeting inside.
The Welsh Government has included the introduction of curfews, restricting alcohol sales and only selling alcohol with food.
“In early February, we faced a position where we didn’t have the range of knowledge we have now, but we went into a national lockdown in essentially the third week of March,” Mr Gething said.
“So there’s a period of weeks for us to resolve some of the challenges we have, which is why we appeal to people to reconsider the choices we’re making, who we’re seeing, how many people we’re seeing, because otherwise we may need to make more local lockdown choices or potentially a national lockdown with all the interruption that causes.”
He said it was important for people to follow social distancing advice and to limit contact to those in their extended household.
“If there isn’t a change in behaviour, we could well be not just seven weeks away from a national lockdown, it could potentially be much quicker,” he said..
Mr Gething said his preference was to have a “joined up conversation” across all four nations and called for Cobra meetings to restart.
Restrictions have also been placed in the Caerphilly county, including the mandatory wearing of face coverings in public indoor spaces, no indoor meetings and people only allowed to leave or enter the area if they have a reasonable excuse.
Mr Gething said new cases were being seen in Caerphilly county borough, which was to be expected due to the time between infection and symptoms, meaning it could be two weeks until the peak is reached.