Covid-19 death toll continues to rise in Wales as new rules enforced

The public in Wales were getting used to stricter regulations about leaving their homes as they spent their fifth weekend under lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Revised restrictions which came into force on Saturday across Wales tell people they must exercise “as close as possible” to home.

Covid-19-related deaths in Wales continued to rise with the announcement that a further 23 people had lost their lives – taking the total to 774.

Public Health Wales said another 299 people had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 8,900.

There appeared to be a spike on Friday in confirmed deaths but it later emerged many had been backdated after delays in reporting from the Betsi Cadwaladr NHS area of north Wales.

Former Assembly Member William Powell said he “owes his life” to NHS staff after he spent more than four weeks in hospital being treated for coronavirus.

Mr Powell, a Liberal Democrat, tweeted: “I owe clinicians, nurses, support & technical staff from Wales & all over the world my life.”

While parts of the country enjoyed the warm weather, police were continuing to carry out patrols to enforce the stay at home rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police said there had been reports of an increase in traffic in Montgomeryshire and checks would be carried out throughout the weekend.

In Gwent, officers described it is “unacceptable” that people drove nearly 12 miles from Newport to the blue lagoon at Pantygasseg.

Police in Swansea also questioned whether it was necessary to queue up to enter the B&Q store at the Morfa retail park.

Cyclists are being told they should travel no farther than a “reasonable walking distance from home”.

The legal guidance states people should not drive to exercise unless absolutely necessary but people with disabilities can exercise more than once a day.

The changes were announced by the Welsh Government alongside a three-phase “traffic light” system to lift Wales out of lockdown.

First Minister Mark Drakeford denied his Government’s plan means Wales is moving away from an all-UK approach to ending the lockdown.

Meanwhile, Caerphilly-based Transcend Packaging is making a million face shields for the NHS in Wales, having switched production from paper straws.

The Welsh Government had called for businesses to help manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) to help create a new made-in-Wales supply chain.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “We are in the midst of a global crisis but we have seen companies really step up in recent weeks.

“The important work we, as a Welsh Government, are doing with companies in Wales to support our effort around PPE, truly shows what is possible, with urgency and collaboration.”

In other news, the Welsh Government has criticised the UK Government for excluding from public funding the Holyhead to Dublin ferry route.

Lee Waters, the deputy minister for economy and transport, said: “The ferry route between Holyhead and Dublin is a vital link, transporting critical goods, such as food and oxygen supply for the NHS, for the UK mainland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“As the second busiest roll on, roll off ferry port in the UK it plays an essential role in the economy of North Wales and further afield.

“It is unacceptable, inexplicable and irresponsible that the Port of Holyhead has not been included in the UK Government’s announcement.”