CAERPHILLY County Borough became the first area of Wales to have a local lockdown put in place last night.

Health minister Vaughan Gething spoke to the Argus about the decision and explained the reasons why action had to be taken.

This is everything he said.

Why has Caerphilly been placed in local lockdown?

"Local lockdown was necessary because we saw a sharp increase in cases in Caerphilly.

"We saw a rate of 55 cases per 100,000 people, which put it in the top 20 in most infected areas in the UK and we expect that to rise further.

"We also saw four per cent of tests Saturday return a positive result.

"Those two things together, if it were an overseas territory, we would be looking at introduced restrictions.

"We could not do nothing.

"We have chosen three areas for the local lockdown that are easy to understand and get over the message that it is mixing in houses that is causing this rise.

"More than half of the new cases are a result of mixing in other people’s homes, over and above what is allowed under the extended households guidance.

"I know it will be disappointing for many people, but this is necessary to slow the spread in Caerphilly."

How long will restrictions be in place?

"We do not have a definitive end point but it will take two to three weeks before we see the impact this has, and we will be reviewing these guidelines on a regular basis.

"In particular we will be looking at the number of positive cases, and we will also be looking at the results from out Test, Trace and Protect programme to see how effective the measures are.

"Caerphilly is an outlier compared to the rest of Wales, we have seen an extended spread of cases on a community level.

"In other parts of the world we have seen that a breakout in younger people can soon spread to more vulnerable groups in three to four weeks. That is what we want to avoid.

"A lot of 20-year-olds live with their parents. People who are 40-50 are more vulnerable than people in their 20s, and both groups will encounter people who are older and even more vulnerable."


Can people still go on holiday?

"A lot of what we are introducing is going back to the old stay local guidelines.

"It should be pretty familiar to people.

"You should only leave the area for a reasonable excuse such as childcare, work commitments or care commitments, food shopping.

"What are not reasonable excuses are socialising or people going on holiday.

"I know a lot have holidays booked and will be worried about whether or not their travel insurance covers it, but actually the biggest concern for us is to make sure we do not have to introduce even bigger restrictions further down the line.

"I remember the difficult days at the start of this when I would have to regularly announce increasing deaths across the country.

"That is what is at stake. We do not want to go back to those days."

Why are face masks not being made mandatory nationally?

"The transmission rates in Caerphilly are very different to the rest of the country. For areas where social distancing is less likely, people in Caerphilly will be required to wear a face mask.

"When we saw a steady fall in cases over the summer, we did not had mandatory face coverings in Wales. People were following the rules and therefore it was not necessary.

"People not social distancing is the problem. We are addressing the specific problems."

Are you monitoring other areas in Wales for a local lockdown?

"We know that there are other clusters in the country, and we are keeping an eye on them. We believe we know how these transmissions are happening in these areas and that is something we are monitoring.

"Caerphilly showed a lot of community transmissions and that is the problem here. It is a marker for everyone else that we should all ensure we are following the requirements to social distance and follow the rules.

"If not it is entirely possible, we could see this in other areas.

"It is incumbent on all of us to look at Caerphilly and make sure that we can protect people in our communities not just in Caerphilly but everywhere in Wales."