A new lockdown has been announced in Rhondda Cynon Taf as the number of cases of coronavirus there continue to rise.
Wales Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced a new set of restrictions during the latest Welsh Government briefing.
He said action needed to be taken because the rate in the county has risen to 4.3% – the highest positivity rate in Wales. The very latest figures show the rolling seven-day new case rate is 82.1 per 100,000 people in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The new rules will include all pubs in the county to close at 11pm. This is the first time since full lockdown that this restriction has been put in place in Wales. It’s because there are two significant outbreaks in the area, one associated with a rugby club and pub in the lower Rhondda and the other with a club outing to the Doncaster races, which stopped off at a series of pubs on the way.
The new rules also include only meeting members of extended households outdoors.
Mr Gething said: “Unfortunately, we have continued to see a rapid increase in the number of cases. We are also now seeing evidence of community transmission. This is despite the measures the local authority asked residents to voluntarily take to control the spread of the virus.”
He said that new local restrictions will be in place from 6pm on Thursday (September 17).
These are the new rules people in RCT must abide by:
People will not be allowed to enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education.
People will only be able to meet outdoors for the time being. People will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors or form an extended household for the time being.
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Everyone over 11 must wear face coverings in indoor public places – as is the case throughout Wales.
The new restrictions will apply to everyone living within the Rhondda Cynon Taf area.
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Welsh Government said the restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.
Towns and villages included in the RCT area, which is the third most populated county in Wales, include:
The heath minister said that the restrictions would be reviewed in two weeks time, and a spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “They will be kept under regular review but if cases do not fall, the Welsh Government, working with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Public Health Wales, will consider further measures.”
People could face fines is they fail to stick to the lockdown rules being imposed.
The coronavirus regulations include provisions for a fixed penalty notice to be issued for most types of breaches of the regulations, carrying a fine of £60. This is increased to £120 for a second offence and continues to double for repeated offences, up to a maximum of £1,920. If prosecuted, however, a court can impose any fine (it is not limited).