Wales records highest coronavirus death figure since April

Wales has recorded its highest amount of coronavirus deaths in a single day since April, with 37 in the previous 24 hours.

The figure comes as Public Health Wales registered 1,414 positive virus tests for the same period – the highest number has recorded during the pandemic – although the true number is likely to be higher.

The number of deaths was the highest recorded in Wales since 38 were reported on April 15 during the first wave of the pandemic.

The Welsh Government’s counsel general, Jeremy Miles, said Wednesday’s steep rise in deaths – compared with seven on Tuesday – “tells us is that a firebreak is absolutely essential”.

He added: “And it tells us a deep firebreak of the sort the Welsh Government is asking people in Wales to observe is the right response in order to protect people’s lives and to protect the NHS in its capacity to keep us all alive.”

Welsh Government figures show the seven-day incident rate for the country is 200 cases per 100,000 people.

Merthyr Tydfil – which has the highest rate in Wales – registered 402.8 cases per 100,000.

The 17-day lockdown in Wales, which encourages people to work from home, bans people from meeting others they do not live with, and forces the closure of all non-essential businesses, would “break the cycle of transmission and bring the virus under control”, Mr Miles said.

First Minister Mark Drakeford
First Minister Mark Drakeford

But he offered a positive glimpse of life in Wales when the lockdown is due to expire after November 9, saying shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and places of worship would all be allowed to reopen and people allowed to return to work.

However, Welsh ministers were involved in discussions about whether contact with people and travel would be restricted as part of new national measures expected to come into force after the firebreak, he said.

Mr Miles added that First Minister Mark Drakeford would announce a “clearer picture of what lies ahead” in the “coming days”.

“The sorts of measures which are under review are measures in relation to contact with other people, of course, measures around travel, and the sorts of restrictions we’ve been facing so far,” he said.

“It’s important that as those ideas are being discussed that we’re also able to speak to our stakeholders and other partners in different aspects of government and other sectors in Wales, so that we can discuss whether those ideas are the right ideas for Wales, and that process is under way at the moment.”