The Welsh Conservatives have called for a “more targeted approach” to local lockdowns as the Vale of Glamorgan, Torfaen and Neath Port Talbot have been ordered into lockdown by the Welsh Government.
It means that almost the entire south-east of Wales, bar Monmouthshire, will be under lockdown – including two-thirds of the Welsh population.
The three new council areas will go into lockdown on Monday, as Cardiff and Swansea go into lockdown today.
“I’d like to see a more targeted approach from ministers – local not regional,” Shadow Health Minister Andrew RT Davies said.
“Ministers should also reconsider the suspension of social bubbles/extended households. The disregard for the mental health of individuals is very concerning and this could be a very difficult period for those living on their own. Please think again.
“And finally, what’s the Welsh Government’s strategy/end goal? Today they mention the prospect of lifting restrictions in areas previously lockdown such as Caerphilly. But when that happens you’d expect the virus to circulate once again. This approach is likely unsustainable.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford said that introducing restrictions in any parts of Wales was “always an incredibly difficult decision” to make.
“But we’re acting to protect people’s health and to try and break the chain of transmission and stop the situation from getting worse,” he said.
“This is not a regional lockdown – this is a series of local restrictions in each local authority area to respond to a specific rise in cases in each area, which have distinct and unique chains of transmission. In some places, such as Caerphilly and Newport, we have seen really positive falls in response and we hope they can begin to be relaxed if they continue.
“It’s really important everyone follows the rules where they live. We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”
Local restrictions are already in place in seven other areas of South Wales – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly borough, Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, Merthyr Tydfil borough, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Newport.
Although the restrictions are the same in each local authority, it does not mean people from one local area under local restrictions can travel to another area under local restrictions without a reasonable excuse, such as travelling for work or education.
The Welsh Government said that they were continuing to keep a close watch on the situation in the north of Wales – cases overall are much lower than in the south of Wales, but there is evidence coronavirus is increasing in some parts of the region.