PEOPLE in the Caerphilly area of Wales face new restrictions from 6pm on Tuesday after a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Health Minister has announced.
The news comes after there were a total of 31 new cases identified in Caerphilly over the last 24 hours and a grand total of 98 in the last week of data, according to Public Health Wales records.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “We have seen a significant rise in cases in Caerphilly borough over a very short space of time, which are linked to holiday travel abroad and people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines.
“A lot of these cases are in younger people and thankfully, at the moment, most of these are mild. But coronavirus is now circulating in the community and it’s only a matter of time before we start to see more serious cases, which need hospital treatment.
“We need the help of everyone in Caerphilly borough to prevent the increasing and onward spread of coronavirus. We can only bring this local outbreak under control if everyone pulls together and follows these new steps.
“If we do not see cases falling, we may need to take further steps to bring this local outbreak under control.”
Travel restrictions included in the lockdown mean people cannot enter or leave Caerphilly County Borough Council area without a “reasonable excuse”.
This includes work, if people are unable to work from home, as well as making a compassionate visit to a loved one or to provide care.
People will only be allowed to meet others outdoors, with indoor meetings and gatherings restricted.
Caerphilly Council has already introduced measures such as suspending care home visits, and introducing weekly testing for care home staff, in response to the increase in cases.
Philippa Marsden, leader of Caerphilly Council, said: “We need to create a break in the cycle of infection we are seeing in Caerphilly borough at the moment and unfortunately that means introducing new, tougher restrictions.
“I would urge everyone living in the area to follow these new measures; to follow the social distancing guidelines and to wash their hands regularly.
“If we all work together, we can bring this outbreak under control and reduce cases of the virus.”
The new measures will be enforced by the local authority and police.
Numerous schools have been affected by coronavirus since the start of the autumn term, including one class of 21 pupils at a primary school in the Caerphilly area being told to self-isolate for 14 days.
Dr Giri Shankar, of Public Health Wales, appealed to everyone in the Caerphilly area to use a local testing unit at the town’s leisure centre if they were experiencing “even the mildest” of symptoms or feeling “generally unwell with no explanation”.
The lockdown will be kept under regular review but the government are considering further measures if cases do not fall.