The Welsh Government have advised people who are shielding in Wales to no longer attend work or school, citing the spread of a new strain of Covid-19.
The advice to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, previously ‘shielding’ has changed from today to advise those within this group that they should no longer attend work or school outside the home.
Letters from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales (CMO) will be issued confirming this advice but will take some time to reach individuals due to the festive period.
“This decision has been taken based on number of factors but has been influenced most recently by the significant recent growth in rates of infection, possibly due to the new variant of the coronavirus,” the Welsh Government said.
“We have also taken account of the pressures we see on our health service with increasing hospitalisations. This advice will be reviewed on a three-weekly basis aligned to the Welsh Government reviews of alert levels across Wales.”
The Health Minister Vaughan Gething however added that the group can still go outside to exercise and also to attend medical appointments.
“We must remain conscious of the harms associated with isolation for long periods and therefore those in this group can remain part of a support bubble, as long as they take care,” he said.
“We have been clear that the safest option for people within this group is not to be part of a Christmas Bubble.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday confirmed that over 600 people in Wales have tested positive for the new aggressive variant of COVID-19 but warned the true number of infections is likely to be much higher.
On Saturday new restrictions were announced in Wales and across the rest of the UK due to the rapid spread of the new strain, which was first detected in the southeast of England in September.
The variant is believed to be to 70% more transmissible than the original virus and scientists have predicted it could increase the R number, which indicates if an epidemic is growing or shrinking – by up to 0.4.