THE new ‘circuit-break’ lockdown has been received as an unavoidable, if not unfortunate, response to the growing spread of Covid-19 in Wales.

Here’s how experts reacted to the new restrictions:

­— Health

The British Medical Association welcomed the circuit break, amid “deep concerns” about the NHS’ ability to cope with rising cases.

“Bringing in stronger restrictions in Wales at this point is essential – the surge in cases alongside the pressure that the winter season will inevitably bring and the huge backlog of patients already in the system is quite frankly an overwhelming prospect,” BMA Cymru council chairman Dr David Bailey said.

Welsh NHS Confederation director Darren Hughes said the circuit break comes at a time when the NHS in Wales is “coming under increasing pressure,” as medical staff juggle other services with preparations for an influx of coronavirus patients.

­— Education

Secondary schools will close for one week as part of the circuit break, and teachers’ union NASUWT said the Welsh Government’s policy on schools should be reconsidered.

“Going forwards, if the measures announced today do not bring the virus under control, the Welsh Government should not rule out considering additional measures that include all schools,” general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said.

David Evans, of the National Education Union, said government must now make sure all students and teachers have access to materials that will allow them to work from home.

And universities in Wales welcomed Mr Drakeford’s message that students will continue to be taught using so-called ‘blended learning’ during the circuit-break period.

“As well as being an important part of the learning experience, in-person teaching also provides university staff with opportunities to check in with students and support their wellbeing – something which is more important than ever in the current climate," Universities Wales director Amanda Wilkinson said.

­— Economy

In Newport, the Business Improvement District called on ministers to understand the circuit break’s impact on the city’s economy and provide quick, accessible financial support.

“Many businesses do not know how they will be able to pay their staff and suppliers during this period,” the Newport Now BID said. “Some are already on their knees. If these businesses do not survive this lockdown then the economic landscape of Newport will be bleak indeed.”

Paul Slevin, president of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said there had been a "mixed reaction" among the group's members to the new lockdown.

"While the new restrictions announced today are not to be welcomed by some, we understand that unfortunately this level of action is now what is required given the rising cases of coronavirus we are seeing in many parts of Wales," he said.

"We are pleased to see early clarity on the restrictions that are to be implemented, along with the first minister’s commitment that this ‘fire-break’ lockdown will remain in force for a defined period only."

Nationally, UKHospitality’s executive director for Wales, David Chapman, said a short lockdown would be a “severe blow” to Welsh hospitality and tourism.

“If it has to happen, it is very encouraging to see the first minister single out hospitality for support,” he added.

The Confederation of British Industry and the Federation of Small Businesses both called for clear advice to traders throughout the circuit break.

The CBI’s Ian Price said: “Transparency and clarity of messaging are key and businesses remain keen to better understand the strategy for living with Covid-19 through the autumn and winter,” he added.

“Businesses need to know exactly who must close, and what restrictions might be imposed upon those that are able to remain open,” Ben Francis, FSB Wales policy chairman said. “We will be engaging with Welsh Government in the coming hours and days to ensure that businesses have all of the information that they need."