A TWO to three week 'fire break' lockdown is the most likely option for Wales, although no decision will be made until Monday.

First minister Mark Drakeford said the measures would be designed to deliver a "short, sharp, shock" to coronavirus and buy more time to prepare the health service ahead of the winter.

"There are no easy options to bring the virus under control," he said at a press conference in Cardiff.


"Once again, we will all have to act together to bring the levels down and to keep them down over the winter ahead.

"We are looking very carefully at introducing in a time-limited fire break, also known as a circuit breaker, of the type recommended by Sage and by our own advisors here in Wales.

"This would be a short sharp shock to the virus, which could turn back the clock, slowing down its spread and buying us more time and vital capacity in the health service.

"A fire break however, would also mean a short, sharp shock to all our lives.

"We would all have to stay at home once again to save those lives, but this time it would be for weeks, not for months.

"We are considering a two or three week fire break.

"The shorter the period, the sharper the measures will have to be."

"These are incredibly difficult decisions and we have not yet come to a final conclusion," he said, adding that ministers will meet over the weekend to hold further discussions.

"Doing nothing is not an option," Mr Drakeford said.

However he warned that these measures were not a "magic wand" that makes coronavirus "disappear," but would give authorities time to deal with the situation.

Mr Drakeford refused to be drawn on what measures could be a part of any circuit breaker lockdown.

"The decisions themselves are yet to come," he added.

Mr Drakeford said he has written to UK chancellor to ask what support could be given to Wales if a circuit-breaker lockdown goes ahead.

He said the Welsh Government wants to go "above and beyond" what has already been planned for business support, but did not give any details on what support would be available for businesses affected by the lockdown.

The first minister added he was not concerned that the warning that stricter lockdown measures were on the horizon would mean an increase in people flouting local restrictions over the weekend.

"I think it will reinforce the efforts that people are making to do the right thing," he said. "If anybody took the other message, they would just be making the period of time in which we will have to all live with restrictions longer and harder.

"Things are going to get tougher, and it is far better we all act together now."