20 December 2020 00:31
Wales will go into lockdown from midnight to contain the spread of coronavirus. First Minister Mark Drakeford made the announcement after talks with the devolved governments and Michael Gove about a new strain of coronavirus. The new restrictions will come into effect from midnight tonight instead of during the Christmas period. Festive bubbles of up to two households can be formed for Christmas Day only. Mr Drakeford said: "Unfortunately, we must also look again at the arrangements for Christmas – we cannot expose people to the risk of this new, more virulent strain of coronavirus." It will mean non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality will close at the end of trading today (Saturday, December 19).
Stay-at-home restrictions will also come into effect from midnight. Throughout the alert level four period, a single person household will be able to join with one other household. First Minister said: "While we all want to avoid further disruption to businesses and plans for Christmas, our overriding duty is to protect lives here in Wales. "We know that 2021 will be a different and a better year. "Our economy will recover. Christmas will come again. "But lives which are lost, are lost for ever. "This new strain of the virus is another dreadful surprise in this long-running pandemic. "We now have a pandemic within a pandemic, a crisis within a crisis. "It is another challenge we must overcome. But one we will overcome together. "We will continue to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and, together, we will keep Wales safe."