There is “no case” for more areas to be locked down as new measures to control the rising Covid-19 rate need time to work, Wales’ first minister has said.
Mark Drakeford said the six south Wales counties already in lockdown were the “trigger point” and efforts were being concentrated in those “hotspot” areas.
New Wales-wide measures include early closing times and table service for pubs, cafes and restaurants.
But lockdowns could be extended to new areas if necessary, he added.
From Thursday at 18:00 BST, licensed premises must close at 22:00 and off-licences and supermarkets must stop selling alcohol at the same time.
He told BBC Breakfast: “There was not yet a case for extending those [local lockdown] measures to other local authorities, but we would keep them under very close and daily review.”
He said the two “trigger points” for taking more action in the south Wales counties not yet under lockdown would be a rise in case numbers and the positivity rate, and at present that was not the the case in those areas.
On Tuesday, Mr Drakeford announced a £500 payment to support people on low income who were asked to self-isolate.
He also asked people to “only travel when you need to do so”.
He reiterated people needed to continue working from home wherever possible and wear face coverings on public transport, in shops and in enclosed public spaces.
Asked on Wednesday morning about extending the lockdown across south Wales, Mr Drakeford said following a meeting with councils, health and police leaders, the consensus was they should “allow the new national measures to have their impact”.
People in Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Blaenau Gwent are only allowed to enter or leave those counties for work, education, or a limited number of other essential reasons.
Mr Drakeford said there was emerging evidence in Caerphilly, the first area to go into local lockdown, that the enhanced measures to control the virus were working.
“Recent days have been encouraging. The numbers in Caerphilly have been coming down quite steadily over the last three or four days.
“We will need another couple of days to make sure that that is a sustained trend.
“My aim will be, if we are seeing a reliable improvement in Caerphilly, to begin to restore to people some of the freedoms we’ve had to withdraw from them.”
Speaking later to Radio Wales Breakfast, Mr Drakeford said: “If [people] act together in that sense of social solidarity, it is still possible to turn the tide on this.”
Asked about Christmas get-togethers, he said: “We will do everything we can and work as hard as we can so that people in Wales will still be able to meet their families, I’m afraid in this more restricted way, come December.
“That fight is still on by government doing what we can, our partners in the local authorities, health authorities and police, but most of all by each one of us in our own lives doing those simple things that we know add up to making the real difference.
“In that way come December we will still be able to get together with those people that mean the most to us and celebrate Christmas.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “I think it always helps if we can have a UK-wide approach to these things. That has been possible, probably eight times out of 10.
“There are numerous meetings and discussions with our colleagues in Cardiff to try and come up with solutions which don’t damage the economy. At the same time, protect public health and deal with this very, very difficult virus.”
The changes announced on Tuesday are in addition to the local lockdown restrictions.
Public Health Wales figures reported 281 further cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest number of cases since April.
— to www.bbc.co.uk