A STARK warning of the potential effect that current increases in coronavirus cases in Wales may have on Covid-19 related deaths and critical care admissions, has been sounded by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Even as Wales has been experiencing rises of more than 100 cases a day - with the majority concentrated on Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf - there have been no coronavirus-related deaths confirmed by Public Health Wales for a week, and just two in the past fortnight.

And earlier this week, there were no coronavirus patients in critical care beds in Wales.

But Mr Drakeford, speaking at a briefing on the Welsh Government's three-weekly review period for coronavirus, said the death and critical care bed occupancy figures relating to Covid-19 are a 'lag' in the data that are not a reflection of the current situation regarding the virus.

Rather, he said, they tell us how the situation was several weeks ago - and he was unsparing in his assessment of how those figures might look some weeks from now, given the current cases rates, and if people do not "work together" to observe both the social distancing and hygiene guidelines, and the new rules on face coverings and indoor gatherings that are effective in Wales from Monday.

"In a couple of weeks' time we will see, I am afraid, a rise in the number of people in critical care and sadly, we will probably see a rise in deaths," he said.

He added that while the data on deaths and critical care tells us "that several weeks ago, things were very good", the daily case figures - more reflective of the moment - "tell us a different story".


Mr Drakeford said it was inevitable that, as lockdown restrictions were lifted during the summer, and people had more opportunities to gather, "we would see local outbreaks".

"In some places that rise in numbers has been driven further and faster than we have expected, and would like to see," he added.

"It has been driven in part by people returning from abroad and bringing the infection back with them.

"But more than that, in some places in Wales the summer has caused people to forget to do the basics.

"People have been acting as though (coronavirus) has disappeared. This is why in some parts of Wales we need to remind people that doing those basic things remains our best defence."

The new measures on face coverings and indoor gatherings being introduced in Wales from Monday "are designed to prevent a new coronavirus crisis", said Mr Drakeford.

"We have a short window to get ahead of a gathering storm."