Third of Wales to enter lockdown following spike in infections

Around a third of the Welsh population will enter lockdown from 6pm tomorrow after fresh data showed a sharp hike in the rate of infections in the country.

The Welsh counties of Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Newport will join Rhondda Cynon Taf with local lockdowns, Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething announced today.

People will be banned from entering or leaving the regions without a reasonable excuse, such as going to school or because they are unable to work from home.

Household gatherings will be banned from tomorrow evening, and people will only be able to meet people outside their households in outdoor areas.

In a new rule which will also be extended to Caerphilly, all licensed premises including pubs will be required to close by 11pm.

The new measures will affect roughly 431,000 people in Wales, bringing more than 850,000 in a population of just over 3m under lockdown restrictions.

It comes as the UK’s top scientists today issued a stark warning that the UK stands in a “critical juncture” as a second wave of infections sweeps across the country.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned that the UK will see 50,000 new infections and 200 deaths a day by mid-October without urgent action to stem the spread of the virus.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty hinted that the pandemic will present a long period of disruption to life in the UK, adding that “in this period of the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this, collectively, very seriously”.

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