Four more patients with coronavirus die in Wales

A further four patients in Wales who tested positive for coronavirus have died, bringing the country’s total to 16.

Public Health Wales said 71 new cases had tested positive for Covid-19 but warned the true number of cases is likely to be higher.

Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for the novel coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said the virus was now circulating in “every part of Wales”.

The total cases of coronavirus by health board are: 47 in Swansea Bay, 220 in Aneurin Bevan, 15 in Betsi Cadwaladr, 84 in Cardiff and Vale, 21 in Cwm Taf, 16 in Hywel Dda and 11 in Powys.

There are three cases of people who are resident outside Wales and one is yet to be confirmed.

“Four further deaths of individuals who have tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) have been reported to us, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 16,” Dr Shankar said.

“We offer our condolences to the family and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality.”

The Welsh Government is writing to all GPs and vulnerable individuals in Wales with details of advice on shielding.

Members of the public should socially isolate if they have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, and socially distance if they do not have symptoms to reduce the risk of transmission, Dr Shankar said.

Those who have symptoms must stay at home for seven days, with all other members of the household who remain well staying inside for 14 days – starting from the day the first person becomes unwell.

Anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms must stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

Everyone should avoid non-essential contact with others, with those over 70 and vulnerable groups asked to be shielded from social contact for several weeks.

Dr Shankar said symptoms include a high temperature, where people feel hot to touch on their chest or back, and a new continuous cough.

“This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours,” he said.

“If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.”

A spokesman for Public Health Wales said the location of the deaths announced on Monday was not being disclosed on Monday.

This is due to changes in the reporting system and the recent increase in cases.

“However, we realise how important it is to keep people updated, and we are looking at ways of providing this information in a routine or automated way,” he said.

Politicians in Wales have called for the Welsh Government to introduce travel and residency restrictions to prevent tourists or those with second homes coming into mainly rural areas.

Dafydd Llywelyn, the police and crime commissioner for Dyfed Powys, said those heading to a non-primary residence should be stopped from doing so and those currently in one should return home.

“This isn’t a national holiday, it is a national emergency,” he said.

“If people don’t start acting responsibly, hundreds, possibly thousands, of people will die unnecessarily.”

Pictures emerged at the weekend showing full car parks and busy paths at popular walking spots such as Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons.

In a press conference on Monday, Kirsty Williams, minister for education, said it was “extremely concerning” to see large numbers of people travelling to such locations.

“The Welsh Government is absolutely clear – make journeys only if they are absolutely essential and I can tell you it is not essential to be in Pen-y-Fan this weekend or today,” she said.

“I would say to those people who are considering going out and about: you would never in normal circumstances entertain harming another citizen.

“If you carry on doing these things, you are in danger of harming other people – harming yourself, harming your family, harming those NHS workers that we will all depend on in the weeks and months ahead.”

She said the Government would take “all steps necessary” to protect the public and slow the spread of coronavirus.

Ms Williams confirmed that First Minister Mark Drakeford has the power to enforce closures of caravan and holiday parks in Wales.

“Those powers are available, there’s a process that needs to be followed,” she said.

“I am confident that the First Minister has every intention of using them.”

On Sunday, Mr Drakeford described self-isolation and social distancing as “absolutely essential” to delay the spread of coronavirus and to save lives.

“Social distancing includes avoiding all but essential travel and if people don’t follow this advice, we will have no choice but to use powers to enforce it,” he said.