Coronavirus laws are being tightened in the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area following a sharp increase in cases of the virus, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed.
A range of new measures will come into force from 6pm tomorrow to control the spread of the virus in the area.
People will not be allowed to enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area without a reasonable excuse;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales;
People will only be able to meet outdoors for the time being. People will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors or form an extended household;
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm.
The new restrictions will apply to everyone living within the area.
The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.
They will be kept under regular review but if cases do not fall, the Welsh Government, working with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Public Health Wales, will consider further measures.
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.
“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.
“We need the help of everyone across Wales to prevent the increasing and onward spread of coronavirus. We can bring coronavirus under control if everyone pulls together and follows the rules we have put in place. They are there to protect you, your family, and your community.”
Rhondda MS Leanne Wood said: “It is disappointing but not a surprise that the Rhondda has followed Caerffili county borough and gone into lockdown. This was something we feared would happen due to the increase in transmission rates.
“I urge everyone to follow the guidance on social distancing, washing hands and only meeting other households outdoors. Wearing face masks inside shops is also essential. I also urge everyone who is contacted by track and trace to co-operate fully so we can shut this virus down.
“The sooner we get this under control, the sooner we can ease restrictions and the safer our loved ones will be.”
The latest figures show the rolling seven-day new case rate is 82.1 per 100,000 people in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Yesterday, the testing positivity rate was 4.3%, the highest positivity rate in Wales.
Contact tracing teams have been able to trace about half of the cases back to a series of clusters in the borough. The rest are linked to community transmission.
There are a number of clusters in Rhondda Cynon Taf – two of which are significant. 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.
The new measures will be kept under regular review and enforcement of the new restrictions will be undertaken by the local authority and by the police.