Another 63 people have died with coronavirus in Wales and more than 2,000 new positive cases have been identified.
Latest figures from Public Health Wales for Christmas Eve recorded 2,161 new cases of the virus to bring the total since the pandemic began to 133,263.
The overall death total now stands at 3,263 in Wales.
Following the latest figures, the infection rate is now 619.7 cases per 100,000 people based on the seven days up to December 19. That is a slight drop on the 624.9 recorded on Wednesday.
These figures are based on the date tests were done, not the date test results were included on the system, meaning it is an accurate reflection of the extent to which the virus is spreading rapidly in Wales.
The percentage of tests being done that produce positive results is also 22.2% in Wales, meaning more than a fifth of people getting tested have the virus.
The rise in cases has been partly blamed on a “new variant” of the virus which is said to cause up to 60% of new infections in Wales.
- Deaths reported today: 63
- Cases reported today: 2,161
- Number of tests carried out: 15,621 (Down from 19,099 yesterday)
- Total deaths with lab-confirmed coronavirus in Wales: 3,263
Merthyr Tydfil remains the local authority with the highest infection rate in Wales with a seven-day rate of 1,311.2 cases per 100,000 population, down on 1,344.4 yesterday.
Bridgend has the second highest rate with 1,151.3 per 100,000 population, down slightly from 1,153.4 yesterday.
Blaenau Gwent is third with 954.7 cases per 100,000, down from 1,004.8 yesterday.
The three areas with the highest percentage of tests coming back positive are Neath Port Talbot with 31.7%, Bridgend with 30.2% and Merthyr Tydfil with 30% in the week to December 19.
Cardiff has the highest number of new cases on Thursday with 277, followed by RCT with 203, Bridgend with 181, Swansea with 168, Wrexham with 150 and Neath Port Talbot with 137.
Other local authorities reporting very high numbers of positive cases include Newport with 113, Carmarthenshire with 105, Flintshire and Vale of Glamorgan with 101 Blaenau Gwent with 94, Caerphilly with 79, Monmoutshire with 66, Torfaen with 62, Merthyr Tydfil with 60 and Denbighshire with 42.
Meanwhile Pembrokeshire and Powys had 34 new cases, Conwy had 27, Ceredigion had 19 Gwynedd had 11, Anglesey had nine
Cases per 100,000 for rolling seven days (December 13 to 19)
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Newport: 861.8 (Down from 894.1)
Caerphilly: 812.4 (Down from 820.7)
Blaenau Gwent: 954.7 (Down from 1,004.8)
Torfaen: 756.7 (Down from 800.3)
Monmouthshire: 508.5 (Up from 501.1)
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Wrexham: 491.3 (Up from 463.4)
Flintshire: 292.1 (Up from 278.0)
Denbighshire: 155.7 (Up from 154.7)
Conwy: 86.2 (Up from 81.9)
Gwynedd: 73.1 (Down from 80.3)
Anglesey: 62.8 (Up from 57.1)
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Cardiff: 701.5 (Up from 696.4)
Vale of Glamorgan: 658 (Up from 631.8)
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board
Merthyr Tydfil: 1,311.2 (Down from 1,344.4)
Bridgend: 1,151.3 (Down from 1,153.4)
Rhondda Cynon Taf: 818.6 (Down from 823.6)
Hywel Dda University Health Board
Carmarthenshire: 715.7 (Down from 739.5)
Ceredigion: 258.6 (Up from 255.9)
Pembrokeshire: 257.5 (Up from 255.1)
Powys Teaching Health Board
Powys: 224.3 (Down from 230.3)
Swansea Bay University Health Board
Neath Port Talbot: 934.3 (Down from 952.4)
Swansea: 725.1 (Down from 740.5)
Wales total – 619.7 (Down from624.9)
On Tuesday, data from the World Health Organisation showed Wales now has the second worst coronavirus infection rate in the world.
All of Wales is now in full lockdown and the Christmas bubble rules which allow two households to join will apply on Christmas Day alone. Alert level four in Wales means that:
- people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- people must not visit other households, or meet other people they do not live with
- many types of businesses are required to close.
There are special rules for Christmas Day which you can read here.
The level four restrictions apply to the whole of Wales and will be reviewed after three weeks, but there is no end date.
The Welsh Government has reconfirmed that the size of Christmas bubbles will be written into law, meaning it will be illegal for more than two families to get together.
Dr Eleri Davies, incident Director for the novel coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “This Christmas Eve, we would like to wish our communities a safe and happy Christmas. It’s so important to remember that the more people you mix with, the higher the risk of both transmitting and contracting coronavirus.
“We advise everyone to stay at home as much as possible, and to limit your social contacts.
“The more people who contract the virus, the greater the number who will need hospital treatment in our already stretched NHS Wales services.
“By staying at home, you will help protect our NHS and ultimately save lives.”
The Welsh Government has announced that those who are shielding should no longer attend work or school outside the home.
“The safest option for people within this group is not to be part of a Christmas bubble and to limit contact with other people over the festive period,” added Dr Davies.
Public Health Wales will not be reporting coronavirus data on its public facing data dashboard or social media channels on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day which will lead to a backlog of data flowing through to the system a day later.