THE LOCALISED lockdown being imposed in Rhondda Cynon Taf could act as a stark warning to Newport.

The lockdown differs from the one in Caerphilly mainly in that licensed premises, such as bars, pubs and restaurants, have to close by 11pm.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said the reason for this change was because of the high levels of community transmission in the borough.


“We have seen a rapid rise in cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf in a very short space of time, linked to people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines," said the minister at a press conference in Cardiff.

“We now have evidence of wider community transmission in the borough, which means we need to take urgent action to control and, ultimately, reduce the spread of the virus and protect people’s health.

"There is evidence of non-compliance in social distancing measures by local businesses in the borough."

The issue of community transmission is of particular importance to Newport, after a bank holiday house party was linked to the recent spike in cases in the city.

"We review every day the points of concern right across Wales," said Mr Gething. "Of course further measures are always possible.

"We've acted on a particular challenge that we see in Rhondda Cynon Taf based upon the evidence, and we also know that if we do close every single pub, then we are likely to see that activity displace and people having to drink in each other's homes.

"That's a much more significant challenge for us in the spread of coronavirus."

He added that should harsher measures are put in place, and pubs were forced to close, the Welsh Government would be reliant on Westminster to be able to offer any support for the affected owners and landlords.

"If we do move to wider scale closures - not the restrictions in opening hours that we're introducing in Rhondda Cynon Taf - then we need to consider what opportunity we have to support businesses, but we are really reliant on a UK programme of funding to do so.

"All of the money we've received has already been allocated to support and survive through the rest of the winter.

"The Welsh Government doesn't have a huge amount of extra cash we are hiding or locking away to see if there are other measures we need to take, There are real pressures here in Wales, as there are in other parts of the UK.

"That's why I think it would be sensible to restart properly and fully the Cobra-level engagement at leadership level between the four governments of the UK to make sure we have that conversation and try to agree as far as possible, not just consistent messaging, but UK-wide measures to support different parts of our economy and public services."