A spike in coronavirus cases in Newport appears to have been partly caused by a party over the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.
Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference on Monday that a rapid rise in cases had been seen in Newport, with a party appearing to be “at the heart of it”.
He claimed the party led to 18 new cases of coronavirus, and many of these people went on to visit different venues “while infectious”.
Mr Gething said: “In Newport, we are seeing a rapid rise in cases, following a similar pattern to that in Caerphilly borough.
“At the heart of it appears to be a party over the bank holiday weekend, which led to 18 new cases of coronavirus, many of whom visited other venues on nights out while infectious.
“Public Health Wales [on Sunday] asked people who had visited a list of bars and pubs in the city to be aware of the symptoms of coronavirus.”
Newport, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf are areas in Wales where cases are rising “sharply”.
As of Sunday, Caerphilly – put into a local lockdown last week – remained the area of Wales with the most cases per 100,000 of population with 85, followed by Merthyr Tydfil at 56.4, Newport at 43.3 and Rhondda Cynon Taf at 48.5.
For comparison, Wales’ weekly rate of infections increased to 21.4 for every 100,000 people on Sunday – up from 20.3 the day before and past the rate at which a quarantine would be imposed on a foreign country.
Discussing the actions which could be introduced to slow the spread of the virus, Mr Gething said: “We are working closely with each of the local authorities and public health experts to understand these rises and to put in place measures to control the spread of the virus.”
“There are many similarities between the rises in each of the areas, including socialising indoors and at home without social distancing and imported cases from holiday travel.”
He added: “We are also updating our Coronavirus Control Plan to increase the range of measures we have to respond to local outbreaks. These include actions, which have been introduced elsewhere in the UK, Ireland and further afield.
“These include the possible introduction of; curfews, restricting alcohol sales, and changing pub operations, including shorter opening hours or only selling alcohol with food.”
It comes after the Mr Gething revealed closing all the pubs in Newport was an option being considered by the Welsh Government to control the spread of the virus. Admitting this was the “simplest option”, other choices include closing pubs early or only allowing customers in if they are ordering food – which would stop punters being able to visit several venues in one day.