Welsh public urged to stay at home for Easter

The public needs to follow the stay-at-home rules ahead of the Easter weekend, the chief executive of NHS Wales has said.

With the weather predicted to be warm over the four days, people could be tempted to visit popular tourist hotspots across Wales.

Welsh police forces will be continuing with patrols of areas normally popular with visitors and holidaymakers, as well as stop checks of motorists.

Please stay at home, protect the NHS and help us to save lives

Holidaymakers and second home owners have urged to stay at home and face being turned away and potentially fined if they are caught.

Public Health Wales revealed a further 41 patients have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in the country, bringing the total number of deaths there to 286.

While the number of confirmed cases rose to 3,790, although the true figure is expected to be higher.

HEALTH Coronavirus Wales
(PA Graphics)

Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales, said: “By following these rules you are helping the NHS.

“You have given the NHS time to prepare, to increase our capacity and to recruit and retrain staff,” he said.

“By staying at home, you’ve helped to limit the demand on our health and care system.

“But we are still planning for the pressure on our health and care system to be significant and visible as the virus continues to spread.

“Please stay at home, protect the NHS and help us to save lives.”

Mr Goodall’s comments came as several politicians, public health officials and police officers wrote an open letter to the people of Wales urging them to stay at home and respect the social distancing rules.

“We are in exceptional and extraordinary times.

“We are having to work with the public in a very different way about these interventions to support our public health approaches,” he added.

“It is a very simple message.

“By staying home you are protecting our NHS and you are helping us to save lives and we need to thank people for what they doing but we need to have their ongoing support for that, even during the Easter weekend.

“No matter how difficult it is to stay at home they will help us with our preparations.”

The Principality Stadium in Cardiff is being turned into a 2000-bed hospital
The Principality Stadium in Cardiff is being turned into a 2000-bed hospital (Ben Birchall/PA)

Mr Goodall revealed there were around 10,000 hospital beds routinely available across Wales and just over 3,200 were currently empty.

He said there were 816 people with confirmed Covid-19 in hospital receiving treatment and a further 344 suspected cases.

“There are many more people at home with coronavirus who do not need to be in a hospital bed,” he added.

Critical care capacity across the country has been increased to over 300 beds and will continue to rise in the coming weeks.

The health official said around 50% of the critical care beds remain available and, of those in use, about one third are occupied by patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

With new facilities, such as at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, opening and extra capacity from the private sector being utilised there will be close to 7,000 extra beds available in the next 10 to 12 days.

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