Coronavirus UK Updates: New variant contributing to rapid rise of cases in Wales, minister says

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Coronavirus UK Updates: Deaths in England and Wales fall for second week in a row
Coronavirus UK Updates: Deaths in England and Wales fall for second week in a row

The new variant of coronavirus currently sweeping across parts of England is also a factor in the rapid rise of cases in Wales, Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething told BBC News On Sunday.

He also said that the decision to place the country immediately into lockdown ahead of Christmas was due to the information that the new strain was leading to faster spread of the virus.

Mr Gething added: “Unfortunately our rates are around about 600 per 100,000, they are very high across the country with large concentrations in the south of Wales but also north-east Wales has been particularly affected as well…

“We have already moved ahead of the rest of the UK in changing our rules about Christmas mixing when new information about the new variant, and the fact it does appear to be generating a much more rapid growth of the virus, really does mean that we need to act.”

When asked if the new variant was in Wales as well as the London and parts of the south east and east of England, Mr Gething said: “I’m afraid the new variant is here in Wales as well.

“The undoubtable truth is this new variant is effectively seeded across the country, so acting now takes account of the fact that this new variant is undoubtedly a factor, we can’t say how much of a factor, in the rapid growth in cases across south Wales despite the measures we have taken.”

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