Wales’ Health Minister has said that cases are rising quickly in the north of Wales and that they believe this is due to the “new fast-moving strain”.
The new “highly-infectious” variant of coronavirus is spreading rapidly throughout Wales, Vaughan Gething said.
He said that new restrictions for the north of Wales were not required as there was already a requirement to stay at home.
“The best way to avoid the previously dominant strain of coronavirus and the new strain is to keep doing what we’ve been asking people to do throughout,” he said.
He has that cases had fallen elsewhere in Wales but that it was too early to tell whether this was because of fewer people coming forward for testing.
He added that the NHS was under intense pressure and that the Covid rate was far too high.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said there are almost 2,700 people with Covid symptoms in hospital in Wales.
“It’s too early to know if these falls are because of the Christmas period and fewer people coming forward for testing, or if they are early positive signs of a sustained slowing of this awful virus,” he said.
Asked whether schools would have to be closed, he said that the Welsh Government would be guided by the evidence.
He said that they had made a choice before the Christmas break and would make a decision on the matter as soon as possible.
The Health Minister hailed the new Oxford vaccine as a “game changer” and added that the number of mass vaccination centres will be increased to 22 and more than 60 GP surgeries in Wales will offer the Oxford vaccine.
“We are training a range of healthcare workers to give the vaccine and we have plans to work with local pharmacists, dentists and optometrists to provide vaccination clinics,” he said.
“We will continue to provide the Pfizer vaccine at the mass vaccination centres across Wales.
“We are working to the priority list agreed by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation. The rest of the UK is working to the same list.
“These two vaccines offer us a path out of this pandemic.
“But it will take a huge effort and time to vaccinate everyone. We are not out of the woods yet.”