Concern at surge of Covid-19 across the UK as Welsh cases continue to fall

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First Minister Mark Drakeford has warned that Wales is not immune to the challenges being faced elsewhere in the UK and around the world, despite being the only nation of the UK where the daily rate of new coronavirus infections is currently falling.

In England local restrictions have been extended in several cities and there is growing concern that Birmingham could be next to face a local lockdown.

Daily infections across England have climbed above 1,000 per day recently as the number of people testing positive for coronavirus jumped by 27% in the last week, hitting its highest level since mid-June.

Birmingham, which has a population of more than 1 million, has seen a rise to 30 cases per 100,000 up from 22.4 the week before and 12 at the start of the month.

Northern Ireland has seen a tenfold increase in new cases each day, with restrictions imposed again there yesterday and Scotland recorded 77 new cases yesterday, the highest number for nearly three months.

Speaking at today’s coronavirus press briefing, Mr Drakeford said: “In the past seven days, over 40,300 tests had been carried out in Wales, and 141 of them were positive.”

“That is a positivity rate of 0.3%.”

“On five of the last seven days, no deaths from the virus had been reported,” and local peaks of infections are now “under effective control.”

“… while our present position is strong,”  he added, “the position in other parts of the United Kingdom, and across the world, is becoming more challenging, with further quarantine arrangements reimposed from 4am tomorrow on visitors returning to Wales from Austria, Croatia, and Trinidad and Tobago.”

Revealing that five hundred businesses have been closed since March after breaking the coronavirus regulations, the first minister added that a minority of people and businesses in Wales continue to act as though coronavirus does not apply to them: “Their actions pose a threat to themselves and to others.

“I still believe that the best methods are to engage, to educate, to explain, and most businesses, and most individuals when they have that explanation do the right thing.

“Where a small minority persist in doing things that are selfish, because they cause harm to others as well as themselves, then we won’t hesitate to make sure that the powers are there, and the actions are taken so that that harm to others cannot take place.”

Public Health Wales has reported 32 new cases of Covid-19 in their latest report, taking the total number of confirmed infections in Wales to 17,673.

There have been no new deaths due to the virus for the third day in a row. The total number of deaths remains at 1,589. 

There were 4,443 tests carried out in Wales on Thursday.

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