A temporary two-week lockdown will be imposed in Wales from Friday (October 16), the Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.
The new two-week “firebreak” will come into force from Friday at 6PM until Monday November 9, with the Welsh government describing it as a crucial step in preventing the spread of the virus.
Roughly 2.3 million people in Wales are already living under local lockdown rules, which are in place in 15 of the country’s 22 counties.
The Welsh government has also banned people from travelling into the country from tier 2 and tier 3 areas in other parts of the UK.
🏴 THREAD: First Minister confirms two week, stay at home ‘fire-break’ 🏴
🚨 Two week fire-break starting 6pm Fri 23 Oct
🏠 Stay at Home from 23 Oct to 9 Nov.
👩💻 Work from home wherever possible.
🌈 Exceptions for critical workers & where WFH is not possible.#KeepWalesSafe
— Welsh Labour (@WelshLabour) October 19, 2020
Under the new lockdown, everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home and work from home wherever possible. There will be exemptions for key workers and for those for whom it is not possible.
Announcing the measures, Drakeford said the country risked overwhelming the NHS if new action is not taken.
“The firebreak is the shortest we can make it, but that means it will have to be sharp and deep to have the maximum impact on the virus,” he said.
Universities and colleges will also remain open, with a mixture of in-person and online learning.
He said: “In the same way we are asking everyone to stay at home, if students have reading weeks or half-term they will also need to stay at home in their university accommodation.”
It comes after a new three-tier system of restriction rules was rolled out across England last week.
Areas in England will be graded in three tiers – medium, high and very high risk – in direct relation to local infection rates.