16 September 2020 14:43
Local lockdown measures are to be imposed in the Welsh county of Rhondda Cynon Taf after a rise in coronavirus cases. The new restrictions will come into effect at 6pm on Thursday, 17 September, Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething confirmed. They are being brought in after two key clusters of cases were identified at "a rugby club and pub in the lower Rhondda" and "a club outing to the Doncaster races, which stopped off at a series of pubs on the way". Rhondda Cynon Taf is the second area of Wales to face tighter coronavirus rules after Caerphilly went into local lockdown a week ago. Figures show the seven-day infection rate for RCT is 82.1 per 100,000 people, with a positivity rate of 4.3% - the highest in Wales.
The Welsh health minister blamed the spike in COVID-19 cases on "people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines". Mr Gething said: "We have seen a rapid rise in cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf in a very short space of time, linked to people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines. "We now have evidence of wider community transmission in the borough, which means we need to take urgent action to control and, ultimately, reduce the spread of the virus and protect people's health. Rhondda Cynon Taf has become the second county in Wales to be placed into local lockdown, following a "rapid" increase in virus cases across the county. The Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the incident rate in RCT is now 82.1 per 100,000 people, and that Tuesday's positive test rate was 4.3% – the highest in Wales.
But cases have continued to rise in the area, and Mr Gething said there is now also evidence of community transmission. The health minister said there are a "number of clusters" in Rhondda Cynon Taf – two of which he described as "significant". He told the press briefing: "One is associated with a rugby club and pub in the lower Rhondda and the other with a club outing to the Doncaster races, which stopped off at a series of pubs on the way." Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Cllr Andrew Morgan said more information and details on the terms of the lockdown will be published later on Wednesday. In regards to Caerphilly, which entered local lockdown last week, Mr Gething said there were "grounds for cautious optimism". He said there had been a "small fall" in both the seven-day rate of new cases and the positivity rate in the Caerphilly area, although both still remain high.
A range of new measures will come into force from 6pm on Thursday including all licensed premises having to close at 11pm. The Welsh government said people will only be able to meet outdoors for the time being. The Welsh government's health minister, Vaughan Gething, said: "We have seen a rapid rise in cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf in a very short space of time, linked to people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines. The latest figures show the rolling seven-day new case rate is 82.1 per 100,000 people in Rhondda Cynon Taf. On Tuesday, the testing positivity rate was 4.3% – the highest in Wales. Contact-tracing teams have been able to trace about half of the cases back to a series of clusters in the borough. Gething said pubs had been a "real factor" in the spread of coronavirus in the area. Rhondda Cynon Taf has seen a 'rapid' increase in coronavirus cases (Picture: Getty Images) Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) has become the second area in Wales to be placed in local lockdown following an increase in coronavirus cases. The Welsh government has confirmed the county borough will be put into lockdown from 6pm on Thursday September 17. From this point on, people will not be able to enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse, such as for work, school or medical treatment. Health Minister Vaughan Gething said there had been a 'rapid' surge in Covid-19 cases in the borough. The rate of positive tests in the area on Tuesday was also 4.3%, the highest in Wales. Mr Gething said: 'Our contact tracing teams have been able to trace about half of these cases back to a series of clusters within the borough. Earlier this week Mr Gething said the majority of cases in RCT were centred on the lower Rhondda Valley, and had been linked to people returning home from abroad or socialising without following social distancing guidelines. The new restrictions will be reviewed in two weeks' time (Picture: Getty Images) There are currently 82.1 infections of the virus per 100,000 people in the area (Picture: Getty Images) A review into the new restrictions will be held in two weeks' time, the Welsh government said. The lockdown comes one week after new restrictions were put in place across Caerphilly, which at the time had around 72.9 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people. Caerphilly has the most cases per population in Wales, with 85 infections per 100,000 people.