Wales’ leading doctor urges everyone to take steps to protect themselves amid ‘rapid rise’ in Covid cases
Wales’ deputy chief medical officer Dr Chris Jones has urged everyone to “take steps to protect themselves from Covid-19” as case rates surge to their highest levels in the pandemic.
A further 12,378 new Covid cases were reported in Wales for a 48 hour period but that does not include data from Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
In Flintshire, there were 533 new Covid cases reported for the same 48 hour period pushing the case rate per 100,000 to 949, the highest since the pandemic began.
The percentage of tests that are coming back positive in Flintshire has also gone up from around 17% to nearly 29%.
Dr Giri Shankar, Professional Lead for Health Protection at Public Health Wales. said earlier today: “We do have certain age groups here in Wales, particularly the 20 to 29-year-olds, where the percentage positivity is nearly 50% – one in two tests coming back positive.”
New measures came into force in Wales on Boxing Day to try and slow the spread of the omicron variant.
The Welsh Government said the revised ‘alert level 2’ measures were designed to help keep businesses open and protect customers and staff.
The measures include the closure of all nightclubs, a maximum of six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, restaurants and cinemas.
Up to 30 people will be allowed at indoor events, while at outdoor events the limit is 50 and social distancing of two metres is required in public places and offices.
Yesterday UK health secretary Sajid Javid ruled out implementing any further restrictions in England before the new year.
Javid said the UK government would reassess whether more measures were needed in England in the new year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ministers would continue to monitor the data and urged people to get their “first, second or booster jab without delay.”
Dr Chris Jones, Wales’ deputy chief medical officer, encouraged people across Wales to get their booster vaccine and follow measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Dr Jones said: “We are seeing a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases caused by omicron all over Wales. The majority of these are in younger people and we believe they would have been contracted before Christmas.”
“This new variant is very transmissible – it spreads very quickly wherever people come together.”
“Please take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. This means wearing a face covering in indoor public places; keeping your distance from other people wherever possible and, if you can, reducing the number of people you meet regularly.”
“If you have symptoms, self-isolate and arrange to get a PCR test.”
“Please also get your booster vaccine – it’s the best way of protecting ourselves.”
“Wales is at alert level two and new protections are in place. This is a worrying time but if we all work together and look out for each other, we can keep Wales safe.”
The key things everyone can do to lower their risk of contracting coronavirus:
- Get fully vaccinated, including having your booster – the vaccine offers significant protections for you and for people you care about.
- Self-isolate and get a PCR if you have Covid-19 symptoms. Avoid others when ill.
- Take lateral flow tests twice a week if you don’t have any symptoms and flow before you go out or meet people. If it’s positive don’t go and arrange to have a PCR test.
- Keep your distance from others wherever possible.
- Limit the number of people you meet with, especially if you’re meeting different people in quick succession.
- Meet outdoors if you can or in well-ventilated places.
- Avoid crowded places where possible.
- Wash your hands; sneeze into tissues and keep surfaces lots of people touch clean.
- Wear a face covering, especially in crowded spaces.
- Use the NHS COVID Pass or show a negative lateral flow test result to attend large events, venues, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
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