THE rate of Covid-19 infection in Wales and the number of coronavirus patients in hospital are both falling, according to the nation's NHS chief.

Andrew Goodall welcomed the "good news" but said "cautious steps forward" still depended on the public's adherence to the lockdown rules on staying at home and practising social distancing.

"The NHS will continue to be there for everyone when they need it most," Dr Goodall said during today's daily Welsh Government press briefing.

"Please continue to support the NHS and social care [services] during the bank holiday weekend."


Dr Goodall's comments followed the first of two Welsh Government cabinet meetings to be held today (Thursday), at which ministers are discussing plans to review the lockdown restrictions.

The rate of community transmission (R number) in Wales is currently lower than one, he said, but "any reduction in the lockdown will have an impact on community transmission rates".

He praised the "remarkable response" of the NHS, saying staff had gone "above and beyond" in their work.

The number of cases in Wales is falling, he said.

Over the past few days, there had been fewer than 200 new cases each day.

All of Wales' hospitals are reporting a 'green' or 'level one' state of readiness, and half of the nation's critical care beds are available.

Dr Goodall said the number of coronavirus patients in critical care was lower than last week, and around 2,800 coronavirus patients in Welsh hospitals had recovered or been discharged.

The NHS boss said it was "important to remember all those who have sadly lost their lives" after contracting Covid-19.

The human cost of the outbreak has been "profound and unmeasurable", he added.

Turning to other health issues, Dr Goodall repeated concerns that sick and injured people in Wales were avoiding seeking medical treatment during the coronavirus outbreak.

Accident and emergency department visits across Wales were "much lower than normal", he added.

"We really have to think about the harm caused by [non-coronavirus] patients not accessing treatment they need and want," Dr Goodall said.

Health boards will be asked to perform non-coronavirus treatments at field hospitals, set up across Wales last month in anticipation of a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 patients.

While demand had not reached those levels, Dr Goodall said those field hospitals could still cater for another 5,000 patients if required.