THE coronavirus situation in Wales is "worsening" despite local lockdown measures in the worst-affected areas, the first minister has said.

Mark Drakeford said local lockdown measures would not be lifted for at least another week in all of the 15 council areas subject to the rules – including Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport, and Torfaen.

He said local restrictions have slowed the spread of Covid-19 rather than stop it, and thanked people for following the public health rules.

"The general trend in Wales is a worsening situation and most areas where local restrictions are in place have reported a seven-day trend where Covid-19 cases have increased," Mr Drakeford said in a statement this morning (Friday).

"Working closely with local authorities and public health experts, we have concluded the public health context means we cannot ease restrictions, and they will be in place for at least another seven days."

Mr Drakeford is due to give a press conference at lunchtime amid growing speculation over the possibility of a nationwide lockdown.

Today also marks the beginning of a new travel ban in Wales, restricting the movements of people arriving from coronavirus hotspots in the rest of the UK. That rule will come into effect at 6pm.

In his statement, Mr Drakeford said "there is evidence in all parts of Wales that these restrictions, and the efforts of local people and local services are making a positive difference".

He added: "Over the last seven days, however, the difference has served to slow down, rather than turn back the virus. I continue to be very grateful to the people of Wales for all the efforts they have made and continue to make."