A doctor is urging people to wear masks if they go to the beach and socially distance or face possible further lockdowns.
Dr Raja Biswas, consultant physician at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, who helped manage and worked on the frontline on dedicated Covid-19 wards, spoke as temperatures in Wales hit 29C on Friday with more hot weather expected on Saturday.
Dr Biswas said that includes wearing a mask on beaches and keeping two metres apart.
If people continue to crowd together, even outside in the sunshine, Dr Biswas, who himself caught Covid-19 while working, fears a possible second wave and local lockdowns like those recently imposed in Aberdeen and north west England.
“If local outbreaks become too great they become a second wave.
“I fear there could be another lockdown unless we are more sensible.
“I’m not saying don’t go to the beach, people need to enjoy themselves, but modify it. Wear a mask, socially distance. If the beach is crowded be sensible. There is a higher risk of infection if it’s crowded.
“Last weekend I went to Porthcawl and the beaches here are not as crowded as in England, which is good, but I could see no one wearing a mask or socially distancing on the beach or the promenade at Porthcawl.
“It could be that people don’t want to wear a mask on the beach because it looks silly, but what’s preferable, that or spreading infection?
“We have been through a very difficult situation in lockdown and we can’t really go abroad or do the things we used to. Everyone needs a break and I understand people want to go to the beach but we should do so sensibly.
“There have been local lockdowns in Aberdeen and the north west of England because people have not maintained social distance. This virus loves people and spreading one to another and it makes no difference what colour, race or gender you are.
“I worry this is not going to go away and if we are going to keep to R rate low social distance is one of the only tools we have.”
Wales has so far been reluctant to make wearing masks compulsory, except on public transport.
In England, masks are compulsory in shops and on public transport. Other parts of Europe have made masks compulsory in much more places. In Spain, nearly all regions have made them compulsory in all public spaces including beaches. In France, many towns and cities including Toulouse, Nice and Lille have made them compulsory in busy outdoors areas.
Explaining the difference in Wales, the nation’s chief medical officer Frank Atherton has said: “There is a divergence of countries, and that can be confusing for people. Here in Wales we take the view to date that in order to mandate something is really quite a high step. We really need a high bar in order to legislate things.
“The three things we look at are whether a policy would be necessary, would it be proportionate, and would it be fair.
“Here in Wales we know that the transmission of the virus is really at low levels at the moment so the question arises as to why we would introduce such a mandation at this point in time.”
Transport for Wales and British Transport Police have asked people to only use public transport for essential travel and where there are no other travel alternatives.
In a joint statement they said: “With limited capacity due to social distancing measures, TfW are sending out a clear message that public transport remains to maintain safe space for key workers.
“TfW have seen a significant rise in people using the service for recreational activities especially at coastal destinations during good weather and in partnership with BTP would like the public to adhere to the rules.”
Superintendent Andy Morgan from BTP added: “Our officers continue to support rail staff this weekend in engaging with passengers, explaining the importance of preventing the spread of the virus and encouraging people to wear face coverings.
“We are confident that those who need to use the railway will act responsibly and will want to play their part in helping to protect each other and comply with the requirements.”